Succession Certificate

What is a succession certificate? Where is it applicable? What is the procedure to obtain? and other such questions are answered in this article

Succession Certificate

In case of the sudden demise of a person, especially if a person dies intestate that is without a Will, few documents are required to take over the possession of the assets of the deceased. Legal heir Certificate and Succession certificate are two such documents that are required to over possession of assets.

We have already covered about Legal Heir and Legal Heir Certificate. Therefore, this article will concentrate on Succession Certificate.

What is a Succession Certificate?

Preparing beforehand is always better as we cannot foresee the future. A person after a certain point should make a will so that the family is secured. A sudden demise will require documents to be submitted, one such document is a succession certificate.

A succession certificate establishes a relation between the deceased and the applicant. The holder of a succession certificate also has power over the deceased person’s obligations and assets. The certificate holder has the authority to settle the deceased person’s debts and to transfer the deceased person’s securities.

It is issued under the Indian Succession Act 1925. The principal goal of a succession certificate is to make it easier to recover debts owed to the deceased person’s representatives and to provide protection to those who pay those payments.

The distribution of the deceased’s assets will be carried out in accordance with the will in cases where the deceased made a Will. When there is no Will, the succession certificate is used by banks and other financial institutions for similar purposes.

Procedure to obtain Succession Certificate.

  • Petition Preparation:  After paying the relevant court fees, the applicant will draft a petition, verify and sign it, and submit it to the district judge in the proper jurisdiction.
  • Submit at court: A hearing is given by the district judge. The judge validates the relation with other required documents.
  • Certificate Is Given: After hearing from all parties involved, the judge will determine if the applicant is within his rights to ask for a succession certificate and if so, will give the certificate to him.
  • Bond submission: The district court may also ask the applicant to post a bond with one or more sureties or provide any other kind of security in order to ensure the applicant’s safety.

Uses of the certificate

The major goal of this certificate is to safeguard all parties who are paying debts in good faith. The certificate holder also has the authority to receive any interest or dividends on the securities, as well as to negotiate or transfer the securities specified in the certificate. As a result, all payments made on behalf of the deceased individual to and by the certificate holder will be legally lawful.

This does not necessarily imply that the certificate holder is the legal heir or the owner of the securities. A different legal procedure is used to determine the lawful heir/heirs.

The succession certificate can be used in the following situations.

  • Make a claim on the deceased person’s property and assets.
  • Act as a representative for the deceased in collecting debts and securities owed to him or payable in his name.
  • Take on the deceased person’s debts and other liabilities.

Succession certificate format.

The given below contains the format of the certificate:

Documents that are required to obtain Succession Certificate

The applicant needs to submit a petition with the District Civil in the appropriate jurisdiction. The documents are as follows:

  • Death certificate of the deceased
  • Identity proof of the applicant
  • Address and property details of the deceased
  • Name, relation, time, date, and place of death of the deceased
  • Details of the relatives or the legal heirs

How much time does it require to obtain a succession certificate?

It requires around 45 to 90 days to acquire the certificate from the date of application. In case of delay, one can approach the court to fasten the process.

The legal heirship certificate is issued to identify the deceased’s live heirs, whereas the succession certificate is issued to establish the heirs’ authenticity and enable them the ability to inherit the assets.

Therefore, a Legal Heir certificate is not a substitution for the Succession Certificate.

A legal heir certificate is used for insurance, gratuity, PF retirement, pension. In order to take possession of a deceased person’s belongings and/or security, pay debts on behalf of the deceased, or collect on the deceased’s financial obligations, a succession certificate is needed.

Another important aspect in the case of a succession certificate is that it cannot be used to obtain immovable property. It is only valid where one has to obtain movable properties such as securities, provident funds, etc.

Also, a succession certificate does not guarantee the inheritance of the estate, whereas a Legal Heir Certificate gives the power to inherit the estate of the deceased.


A fixed percentage of the estate’s value is charged by the court as a court fee for issuing the certificate. Each state’s percentage varies from one state to another throughout the country. Typically, it’s about 2 to 3 percent of the estate’s value. After which, the certificate will be typed, duly signed, and delivered.

Can the court reject the certificate?

After filing the petition, the court will examine it and make the petition public through the national newspaper and will notify the heirs and applicants. A 45 days notice is given to raise any objection with regard to the claim established.

In case the court finds any fault with the documentation it can cancel or revoke the certificate.