A succession certificate is a document issued by a competent court under the Indian Succession Act declaring a legitimate person as the successor of a deceased person. The legal heirs of a person who dies intestate are given a Succession Certificate. When a person dies without leaving a valid Will, that individual is said to have died intestate.   This certificate enables the successor(s) to realise the decedent’s debts and assets.

PROCEDURE FOR OBTAINING SUCCESSION CERTIFICATE
In order to get a succession certificate, Firstly a petition needs to be submitted to the district judge in whose jurisdiction the deceased person habitually resided at the time of death, or, if the deceased did not have a fixed address at that time, to the district judge whose jurisdiction any of the deceased person’s property may be found.

Petition for the Certificate of succession
The following particulars must be contained in the petition for succession certificate:

  • The petition must specify the time, date, and place of death of the deceased.
  • Details of residence and the properties of the deceased.
  • Documents with details of family and relatives of the deceased.
  • Documents that helps in establishing the claim of the petitioner filing for the succession certificate.

Grant of Certificate of succession
When a petition is filed, the District Judge may, if pleased with the petition’s justification, provide a hearing chance to anyone whom they feel is entitled to it. After hearing all parties, the judge can decide whether the petitioner has the right to be awarded the succession certificate.  The Judge would then issue a certificate empowering the holder to negotiate, transfer, receive interest, or do both.

Restriction on Succession Certificate
Sometimes a court orders the submission of a bond with one or more sureties, along with other security, in order to render an account of the debts and securities that the petitioner of the succession certificate has received, as well as to serve as insurance for any potential claimants for a portion of the debt or securities.

Validity of the Succession Certificate
In all of India, a succession certificate is valid. In order to be valid, a certificate issued in a foreign country by an Indian representation must be stamped in conformity with the Court Fees Act, 1870.

Revocation of the Succession Certificate
According to Section 383 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925, a succession certificate may be revoked in the following circumstances:-

  • The process used to obtain the certificate was flawed.
  • If the succession certificate was obtained by any fraudulent means.
  • A succession certificate loses its value or becomes useless and therefore becomes ineffective as a result of certain circumstances.
  • It is appropriate for the certificate to be cancelled in accordance with a decree or decision from another competent court addressing the obligations and securities of the same deceased individual.
  • A person may appeal against a District Judge’s order to award, refuse, or revoke a certificate to the respective High Court.

IMPORTANT PROVISIONS WHICH ARE TO BE CONSIDERED WHILE APPLYING FOR THE SUCCESSION CERTIFICATE

The following are the important provisions that need to be considered while applying for the succession certificate:

  • This certificate can be used to transfer an electricity connection, a telephone connection or patta, a house tax account, a bank account, or to file an IT return, among other things.
  • The documents which are required to apply for a succession certificate include the death certificate of a deceased individual, the time, date, and place of death, the names of all legal heirs, and documents establishing their relationship with the deceased are required documents to get succession certificates.
  • The court issues a newspaper notice for 45 days in the instance of a succession certificate. Anyone who objects to the advertisement may file their objections. The court will issue a succession certificate if no objections are raised. This whole process of acquiring a succession certificate can take around 5-7 months.
  • Generally, a total of 2-3 percent of the value of the entire property will be charged for the succession certificate.

Conclusion
A Succession Certificate is a legal document that the court issues to allow the heirs of the deceased to claim the properties of the deceased person. It is important, and while creating and putting them into action, appropriate guidance should be sought.

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