A Legal Heir Certificate (LHC) also called as a Survivor Member Certificate is a vital document issued by the government authorities which establishes a relationship between the deceased and his legal heirs. It is essentially required for transferring the assets of the deceased to the surviving legal heirs post his demise. Generally, a LHC is required where a person has died intestate i.e without leaving a WILL. However, under certain circumstances a Legal Heir Certificate can be required by banks etc. even after the deceased has left a WILL, just to be double sure of the identity of the person claiming the movable assets etc.
The Class-1 legal heirs of a Hindu male are as below-
A Legal Heir Certificate is generally required in situations like transferring the assets of a deceased, claiming insurance policies of the deceased, claiming movable assets like bank accounts, lockers, Demat accounts etc, claiming pending salary, gratuity and provident fund of the deceased, claim benefits from any other government schemes etc.
A legal heir certificate is hence an essential document in order to ascertain/identify the relationship between the deceased and his legal heirs. Any of the legal heir of the deceased can apply for the legal heir certificate but one must include the names of all legal heirs in the form while submitting the application.
A Legal Heir Certificate/ Surviving Member Certificate can be obtained by approaching the Taluk/ Tehsildar of the concerned jurisdiction (might differ in some States) For example, in Delhi, the SDM/Tehsildar of the concerned area is authorized to issue the Surviving Member Certificate.
The Applicant/s must submit a duly filled application form along with the prescribed fee (might vary for different areas and States) and the necessary documents along with an affidavit on a stamp paper.
After submission of the application and a due scrutiny and verification of the necessary documents, a Legal Heir Certificate/ Surviving Member Certificate will be issued.
If under any circumstance, the concerned authority is doubtful about the genuineness of the documents, a field verification might be carried out by a designated officer.
In some cities, the Tehsildar assigns the application to the Village Administrative Officer (VAO) for field verification. The local revenue officers conduct an enquiry regarding the same and a report is submitted by them based on their findings to the Tehsildar. The Tehsildar reviews the report and observations, based on which he decides whether or not the legal heir certificate should be issued to the applicant with the names of all legal heirs of the deceased, as stated by him.
Generally required documents for obtaining the Legal Heir Certificate are-
In Delhi, the applicant/s can apply for the certificate online as well. Applicant should firstly get the registration done on the online portal by using his/ her Aadhar Card or Voter ID card and then the services can be availed. Generally, it takes about 20-30 working days to conclude the entire process.
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