When a person passes away intestate, that is, without leaving behind his Will, then there is a need to properly distribute the debts and securities of the deceased and discharge his liabilities. Succession Certificate is a document granted by the court to the legal heir of the person dying intestate and leaving behind debts and securities.
Who are the legal heirs of the deceased?
Any person who is entitled to succeed to the property of the deceased is called a legal heir of the deceased.
A Succession Certificate is an official document issued under the seal of the court, which bears the name of the deceased person and his/her rightful legal heirs, who shall be the beneficiaries of the securities left behind by the deceased. This beneficiary shall also be liable to discharge the debts owed by the deceased before he passed away. This certificate authorizes the beneficiary to transfer the securities left behind by the deceased and to pay off all his debts.
Why is a Succession Certificate required?
To claim the movable or immovable property along with the debts left behind by the deceased. There may be a possibility that some individuals who are not legal heirs may come forward to claim a right over the estate/securities of the deceased and hence, to avoid any such unwanted complications, the legal heirs should obtain Succession Certificate from the court.
Who grants the Succession Certificate?
The District Court or High Court within whose jurisdiction the deceased person resided at the time of his death can grant Succession Certificate.
How to apply for a Succession Certificate?
Upon the demise of a person, his/her legal heirs can collectively or through one of the heirs, make an application to the court for grant of succession certificate. You can have the petition for Succession Certificate filed through an advocate.
What are the benefits of the succession certificate?
- The holder of the Succession Certificate can transfer the securities of the deceased person to the rightful legal heirs.
- A succession certificate is an essential document while performing financial transactions on behalf of an intestate deceased person.
- It validates the status of the rightful legal heirs.
- The legal heirs can discharge the debts of the deceased person.
The process of application is fairly technical, and it has been simplified to 5 major steps below:
Step 1: The Application
Given below are the documents to be attached to the Application:
- True Copy of the Death Certificate of the deceased person;
- A list of all the securities held by the deceased person given in a tabular format which is provided by the court.
- An oath from the Petitioner stating that he/she will administer the securities and debts of the deceased person with honesty and obtain the succession certificate diligently the format of which has been provided by Bombay High Court.
- Affidavits of all the other heirs (only those above the age of 18) declaring that they have no objection to the Court granting the succession certificate in favor of the Petitioner.
- Administration Bond: This bond is also in a pre-decided format which is provided by the Bombay High Court
- Administration bond is to be typed on Stamp Papers worth Rs. 400/-. It is to be signed by the heir making the application along with another person (who is not a family member, i.e., a third-party witness). This bond states that the Petitioner shall diligently complete all the formalities for obtaining succession certificate and receive the same as soon as possible.
Step 2: The Filing
Once the petition is prepared, and all the documents are attached as given above, the Petitioner can either get it notarized by a notary or personally affirm it before the officer of the court. The Succession Certificate is issued by the Testamentary Department of the court.
Step 3: Payment of Court Fees
The Testamentary Department reviews the petition and the schedule of the debts and securities attached to the petition. Based on the total amount of the securities the court fees have to be paid by the Petitioner.
Step 4: The First Notice
Once the Petition is reviewed, if the Testamentary Department requires any further clarifications regarding the details of the securities held and the details of the heirs then these details are listed, and a notice is issued to the Petitioner asking him to comply with all these requirements. Once the First Notice is issued, the Court will also publish a notice of the Petitioner’s intent to obtain the succession certificate and call for objections from interested parties.
Step 5: Issue of the Certificate
Once all the requirements are complied with, if no objections are raised to the Succession Certificate, then the Court will issue the Succession Certificate under its seal.