A succession certificate comes into play when a person dies intestate (without a will), and their assets are distributed to their lawful heirs after the court has confirmed ownership legitimacy. The term ‘Dying intestate’ refers to a circumstance in which a deceased individual has not left a will or has left one for an invalid reason. This indicates that no attempt has been made to prove the authority and legitimacy of the deceased person’s successor. It grants the certificate holder the authority to assume the deceased person’s securities and debts. A succession certificate holder can take possession of the deceased person’s assets as well as the obligations owed, according to sections 380, 381, and 382 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925.
SUCCESSION CERTIFICATE TO PROPERTY
A succession certificate, according to the Indian Succession Act, 1925, is a document issued by civil courts in India to demonstrate the proper claim of legal heirs when a person dies intestate, that is, without leaving a valid will.
This document, issued by a competent civil court under the Indian Succession Act, essentially recognises the rightful person to be the deceased person’s successor. The transfer of any assets, obligations, or securities to the lawful successor of the deceased person is ensured by a succession certificate. Mutual funds, insurance, pensions, retirement benefits, government obligations, and bank balances are examples of these assets.
WHO CAN APPLY SUCCESSION CERTIFICATE ?
Only legal heirs are eligible to apply for a succession certificate. If a family member or the head of the household dies, the deceased’s next direct legal heir, such as the deceased’s wife, husband, son, daughter, or mother, can file for a succession certificate. This certificate can be used to transfer an electric connection, a telephone connection, as well as to pay taxes, open a bank account, and file tax returns.
WHO ISSUES A SUCCESSION CERTIFICATE?
The District Judge of the appropriate jurisdiction, where the deceased individual was living at the time of death, issues a succession certificate. Suppose the authorities are unable to locate such a location. In that case, jurisdiction is moved to the location where the deceased person’s assets may be located.
The district judge of the competent jurisdiction issues a succession certificate. A petition must be written and presented in the appropriate district court to receive a succession certificate. The district court’s jurisdiction over a petition for a succession certificate would be determined by where the deceased individual customarily resided at the time of his death. If no such location is known, the relevant jurisdiction would be where any deceased person’s property might be found.
STEP 1: FILE A PETITION
A petition should be filed by legal heirs who want to claim ownership of the deceased person’s assets. This should be done in the proper manner and filed after it has been verified in a civil court of competent jurisdiction. Along with the petition, a copy of the death certificate should be included. The following information must be included in a petition for a succession certificate:
- Time of death of the deceased
- Residence or information of the deceased’s properties at the time of death within the Judge’s jurisdiction
- Details about the petitioner’s family or other close relatives
- The petitioner’s rights
- The absence of any barrier to the certificate’s grant.
STEP 2: PAY THE FEES
The Court Fees Act of 1870 mandates that the court will charge a certain proportion of the estate’s value. As the petitioner, you must pay this amount in judicial stamps. A fee of 3% of the property’s total value will be levied for the succession certificate.
STEP 3: SUBMIT IN THE COURT
The district judge will hold a preliminary hearing on the petition filed by the applicant or petitioner, and if the petition is accepted, he will set a date for the final hearing, as well as serve notice of the hearing to whomever he deems appropriate.
STEP 4: PUBLISHING A NOTICE AND TIME PERIOD
The court issues a 45-day notice in the local newspaper. Anyone who has a problem with the advertisement can file a complaint. If there are no objections, the court will grant the petitioner a succession certificate. It’s possible that this process will take 5-7 months.
STEP 5: RECEIVE THE CERTIFICATE
The judge will determine if the applicant is within his rights to ask for a succession certificate after hearing from all parties involved. If so, the court will give the certificate to the applicant. The court may issue a joint succession certificate if there are many petitioners. However, only one certificate will be issued for a single asset.
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR SUCCESSION CERTIFICATE
Required documents to obtain a succession certificate are:
- The date and time of death
- The deceased person’s address
- Details about the deceased person’s possessions
- Information on the deceased person’s family
- Information about all of the deceased person’s lawful heirs
- Certificates of No Objection from other lawful heirs
- Lists of the deceased person’s assets, debts, and securities
SUCCESSION CERTIFICATE VS. LEGAL HEIR CERTIFICATE
It’s crucial to understand the difference between a legal heir certificate and a succession certificate, as they’re not the same thing.
While a legal heir of a deceased person can request a succession certificate to transfer electricity or telephone connections, bank accounts, and other assets, this is different from a legal heir certificate that is provided to approve family pensions or transfer moveable and immovable assets.
The succession certificate confirms who the deceased’s rightful heirs are and that no will was left behind. This may be sufficient for legal heirs to govern and dispose of property, but it is not the most important document in the case of real estate.
It’s probable that a letter of administration is required for this. A letter of administration is a document that expressly authorises someone to administer the estate of someone who died intestate. The method for obtaining this document is the same as for obtaining a succession certificate.
In the case of Muthia vs Ramnatham, 1918 MWN 242, it was held that the grant of certificate gives to the grantee a title to recover the debt due to the deceased, and payment to the grantee is a good discharge of the debt.” In the case of Srinivasa vs Gopalan, , it was held that ” The question whether the debt belonged to the deceased is not a matter to be decided on an application for a succession Certificate.” In the case of Paramananda Chary vs Veerappan, AIR 1928 Madras 213: 82 IC 604, it was held that ”The grant of succession certificate is conclusive against the debtor. Even if another person turns out to be the heir of the deceased, it does not follow that the certificate is invalid.” In the case of Ganga Prasad vs Saudan , it was observed that section 381 of the Act protects the debtors and affords full indemnity to the persons liable to pay the debts and in respect of the securities covered by hte certificate as persons having the same paid in ”good faith
Succession certificate is to provide speedy remedy and quick decision in succession matters so that legal heirs of deceased may have their share in movable assets ascertained, allocated and disbursed as there may be a needy family requiring immediate disbursement of amount to meet, its merging and day to day needs of life.
COURT FEES ACT 1870
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