One can never comprehend the uncertainties life throws at you. Within seconds, one could be led from luxury into total disarray. Many prepare themselves understanding the play of nature by drafting a Will making sure that his life’s wealth is distributed among his family members peacefully and justly. But some just believe in living in the moment and avoid preparing such documents. This situation gives birth to the need of Succession Certificate for movable property and Letter of Administration for immovable property.

Very often we have heard people complain about their inability to access the movable assets of the deceased person due to the lack of proper documents related to the assets. Especially when it comes to NRIs, it becomes difficult for them to prove the legal right over the financial assets of the deceased.

This situation mainly arises with the financial institutions, particularly with the Banks. They are bound by the law and therefore, cannot release the concerned assets such as fixed deposits, bank deposits, bonds, etc. without the Succession Certificate.

What is Succession Certificate and what does it entail?

  • Succession Certificate is a legal document (certificate) issued by the Court to the legal heirs of the deceased person who has died intestate, releasing all the debts and securities of the departed.
  • The instrument is granted by the civil court establishing the legitimacy of the heirs of the departed.
  • It provides the successors the authority to transfer the deposits and other assets in their own names.
  • It also brings the debts or securities of the deceased related to the assets and hence, the responsibility and liability to honour all the debts or securities attached to it.
  • The successor has to file for the Succession Certificate in the court within whose jurisdiction the deceased person resided.

Obtaining Succession Certificate

There is a particular process under the law, Indian Succession Act, 1925, that has to be followed to get the certificate from the competent court.

  • The petitioner has to file a petition in the court to obtain the instrument.
  • The application has to be filed with the competent jurisdiction where the dead person resided, or the property of the deceased person is located.
  • One has to specify the successor’s name; time, date and place of death; relation with the departed, death certificate of the deceased and names of all the heirs.
  • It also comes in handy if the successor carries his birth certificate and bank statements which further help to prove he is the successor.
  • It is petitioner’s duty to issue a notice in the newspaper after filing the application to the court specifying the period within which any person with objection can come forward and object. If not the court will issue the Succession Certificate to the petitioner.
  • The time period involved in obtaining the instrument may vary from 6 to 8 months from the date of filing the application.
  • The High Court and the District Court both can issue the certificate.

It is never late to understand what kind of situation a person is facing and how it can be solves. Succession Certificate is way of claiming what rightfully belongs to you and in a proper legal way.


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