When a property owner dies intestate, or without the presence of a will, any of the person's legal heirs can apply for a succession certificate. This certificate is necessary for various reasons and activities that must be carried out by the deceased person's successors. Let us understand what a succession certificate is and look at the process of obtaining this important document.
A Succession Certificate is a legal document issued by a civil court judge to grant a person authority to act on behalf of a deceased person who has died intestate. When a person dies without a will, the succession certificate certifies the competent authority the right to collect any outstanding debt or dues and securities of the deceased person. A person who holds a succession certificate may pay debts and transfer a deceased person's securities.
It is important to remember that a succession certificate is not the same as a legal heir certificate. It does not confer title, right of inheritance, or allow the transfer of interests of the deceased person in an immovable property.
The application for a succession certificate must be made to the civil court in the relevant jurisdiction. A legal petition must be prepared and filed with the district court where the deceased person resided at the time of death. Alternatively, it may also be filed in the place where the deceased person owned the property.
Details to be mentioned in the petition -
The following must be attached to the petition -
When you submit the petition for the succession certificate, you will be required to pay a fee through judicial stamps. The fee will depend on the value of the property mentioned in the certificate.
Following this, there is a preliminary hearing with the district court judge. After the judge admits the petition, a court notice is published. This calls for any party who holds an interest to raise an objection within 45 days. If the court receives no objections to the petition, the date for the final hearing is set. The applicant and all the other legal heirs must attend the hearing. The judge grants the petition if there is no objection or impediment at this time. In some cases, the judge may ask the petitioner to provide a bond or a surety to prevent any potential loss to the deceased person's property.
Following this, the court will issue the succession certificate to the petitioner.
Unlike popular belief, succession certificates and legal heir certificates are different legal documents and serve different purposes. A succession certificate may be necessary for the transfer of movable properties such as fixed deposits and securities. In contrast, a legal heir certificate is necessary for claiming pensions or transferring ownership of real estate and immovable property. In most cases, the transfer of a real estate property is done only with a legal heir certificate. A succession certificate may also be required for transferring utility connections, repaying outstanding loans, making property tax payments, etc. The succession certificate is granted by a magistrate or district court judge, while the Municipal Corporation or the Taluk office provides a legal heir certificate.
It is a good idea to consult a lawyer or an advocate to obtain a succession certificate in India. A legal professional specialising in real estate matters, inheritance, and succession is best equipped to understand the nuances of the court proceedings and file a petition that is compliant with the legal guidelines. The lawyer is also best equipped to advise you about situations where you may require a succession certificate and help you with your documentation process.
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