Succession Certificate in India – An Overview

  • What is Succession Certificate

It is a document/ certificate granted to the legal heirs of a deceased person who does not leave a will / absence of nomination. It helps you to establish as a legitimate heir to the deceased and give them the power to inherit shares, securities, debts and other assets of the deceased.

  • Governing Laws

The succession certificate is valid throughout India. The Indian Succession Act, 1925 governs the same.

  • Objective of  Succession Certificate

The main objective of the succession certificate is to facilitate the collection of the debts on succession and give protection to the parties paying debts to the representatives of the deceased person.

  • Effects of a succession certificate

The holder of a succession certificate;

  • Has a claim over the property and assets of the deceased person.
  • Has the authority to represent the deceased in collecting debts and securities due to the deceased or payable in his name.
  • Inherits the debts and other liabilities of the deceased person.
  • Where to apply to get Succession Certificate?

You can apply for a succession certificate in the civil court. A civil court can be either a district court or High court. It depends on the value of the property and assets.

Remember, you have to apply in the civil court where the deceased person resided and not where you reside. You can also apply in the civil court where the properties are situated.

  • Procedure to get the Succession Certificate (Section 372 of The Indian Succession Act, 1925)

Application for such a certificate shall be made to the District Judge by a petition signed and verified by or on behalf of the applicant in the manner prescribed by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. The petition should contain the following details:

  • Time of death of the deceased;
  • Residence or details of properties of the deceased at the time of death within which Judge the jurisdiction falls under;
  • Details of family or other near relatives;
  • The rights of the petitioner;
  • Absence of any impediment to the grant of certificate;
  • a copy of the death certificate
  • the debts and securities in respect of which the certificate is applied for.

Do not knowingly give any false information in this petition. It is an offence under the IPC

The court will issue a notice to all legal heirs for filing any objections. If there are objections, the court will hear and decide the same. The court will also issue a notice in the newspapers It specifies a specific period to raise objections (generally 45 days).

If there no objections, the court then proceeds to levy a fee for the issuance of the certificate. Court fees also has to be paid in the form of judicial stamp papers. Only after payment of court fees, the court issues the succession certificate. You can then claim your shares according to your own inheritance laws.

A succession certificate will not be granted in cases where obtaining a Probate or Letter of Administration is necessary.

  • Validity of the Succession Certificate

(Section 380, 381 & 382 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925)

A succession certificate is effect throughout the whole India as per section 380 of The Indian Succession Act, 1925 i.e. it stands valid anywhere within India. However, where a certificate has been granted to a person who is a resident of a foreign country, by an Indian representative (as appointed by the government), of such foreign country, the certificate will stand valid only if properly stamped.

This certificate simply affords protection to the parties paying debts. It means there is absolutely no adjudication of title of the deceased.

  • Legal Heirship Certificate Vs Succession Certificate

Legal heir certificate is not similar to Succession certificate

Legal Heirship CertificateSuccession Certificate
It is issued to identify the living heirs of a deceased personIt is issued to establish the authenticity of the heirs and give them the authority to inherit debts, securities and other assets that the deceased may have left behind
  • What are the documents required for getting a succession certificate?
  • Death certificate of the deceased person.
  • No objection certificate (from other legal heirs)

Kindly Note that:-

1. The issuance of succession certificate usually takes time. This is important because the certificate even gives access to the bank accounts of the deceased person. So be patient when you apply for a succession certificate.

2. Court fees – as per Court Fees Act, 1870

3. Indemnity Bond may also require a Surety or some other security

4. Succession Certificate is valid throughout India

5. The applicant cannot be a minor. However, the succession certificate can be granted to a minor through a guardian.



Disclaimer:  Every effort has been made to avoid errors or omissions in this material. In spite of this, errors may creep in. Any mistake, error or discrepancy noted may be brought to our notice which shall be taken care of in the next edition. In no event the author shall be liable for any direct, indirect, special or incidental damage resulting from or arising out of or in connection with the use of this information.