How to Obtain a Succession Certificate

A Succession Certificate is a vital document which is obtained by filing a petition in the court of competent jurisdiction. The petition must contain the details regarding the deceased, time and place of death his surviving legal heirs etc. Generally a period of 6-7 months is taken by the court for grant of succession certificate.

Wed Jun 22 2022 | HLL Knowledge Series | Comments (0)

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A succession certificate, under the Indian Succession Act, is a document that authorizes the legal heir/representative of the deceased to collect debts and securities due to him or payable in his name. Usually, a succession certificate is obtained when the deceased has died intestate i.e without making a WILL. A succession certificate thereby becomes a vital document through which the legal heirs can claim the assets of the deceased.

When a legal heir or a legal representative of the deceased presents his claim before the banks, companies etc.in order to gain the possession of the debts and securities owned by the deceased, it is impertinent for him to establish himself as the legal heir of the deceased. In the event of not being nominated as a nominee of the deceased and there being no Will in existence, the  institutions are hesitant in releasing the proceeds of the said accounts without a Succession Certificate.

According to Section 370 of Indian Succession Act, a succession certificate can be granted only in respect of debts and securities. The term “security” according to the act means-

  1. any promissory note, debenture, stock or other security of the Central Government or of a State Government;
  2. any bond, debenture, or annuity charged by Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom on the revenues of India;
  3. any stock or debenture of, or share in, a company or other incorporated institution;
  4. any debenture or other security for money issued by, or on behalf of, a local authority;
  5. any other security which the State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare to be a security for the purposes of this Part.

A petition for obtaining Succession Certificate should be filed before the District Judge (DJ) within whose jurisdiction the deceased resided immediately before his death. Some High Courts also have concurrent jurisdiction to try and entertain such a petition. A petition for succession certificate must contain particulars like time and place of death of the deceased, residential and property details of the deceased, details of legal heirs, rights of the petitioner etc.

Once the case is admitted by the court, notices are sent to the parties who may have an interest in the property of the deceased.  The concerned court also orders for the publication of a general notice for the public in a daily newspaper calling for objections. If no objections are received, and the court is satisfied, it passes an order to issue a succession certificate to the petitioner.

Generally required documents to be presented along with the petition are

  1. Death certificate
  2. Proof of relationship of the petitioner with the deceased
  3. Address details of all the legal heirs
  4. The court may also require the applicant to provide a bond with one or more sureties after the Succession Certificate is granted.

Generally, a time period of around 5-7 months is taken by the court to grant the Succession Certificates. However, if objections are received after the publications, then the said time might increase. Once the succession certificate is granted, the petitioner is authenticated to distribute the assets to the legal heirs as per the succession laws.

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