When it comes to accessing inherited moveable assets in India, non-resident as well as resident Indians encounter numerous challenges. Stringent regulations of banks for releasing the wealth of deceased people throw legal heirs into turmoil since they are unfamiliar with the laws and processes for accessing these assets

Succession certificate gives authority to living heirs to inherit debts, securities and other assets that the deceased left behind it also grants the certificate holder the right to represent the deceased in the recovery of debts and securities owed to him or payable on his behalf under the Indian Succession Act, 1925.

A succession certificate is always required for accessing any type of movable asset, whether it be money locked up in bank accounts or investments of deceased persons in different investment instruments such as  equities, government bonds, mutual funds, funds deposited in Indian post offices.
A succession certificate is different from a legal heirship certificate which is issued to identify the living heirs of a deceased person whereas a succession certificate is issued to establish the authenticity of the heirs.

Succession Certificate is issued in accordance with the Indian Succession Act 1925 after an application is submitted by a beneficiary in a court of competent jurisdiction. According to Section 380 of the Indian Succession Act of 1925, a succession certificate is valid all over India. A succession certificate is conclusive as against the person/persons liable to whom complete indemnification is provided for payments made, according to sections 381 and 386 of the Act.
The principle of Succession Certificate is restricted to obligations and securities such as provident fund, insurance, bank deposits, shares, or any other security of the Central Government or State Government to which the deceased was entitled.

A succession certificate can be utilized when banks, financial institutions, and private entities deliver funds to the nominee and the nominee refuses to cooperate in distributing the asset to the legal beneficiary. In terms of the obligations and securities covered by the succession certificate, a succession certificate does not influence adjudication of title of the deceased far less than that of the holder. Similarly, where the inheritance amount is substantial, a succession certificate may be useful to prove the claimant’s genuineness.

Petition for grant of succession certificate should be filed in the court of the District Judge under whose jurisdiction the deceased person used to reside at the time of death. In case the deceased did not have a fixed place of residence, a petition for grant of succession certificate can be filed in the court of the District Judge under whose jurisdiction any portion of the property owned by the deceased person is located. Application can only be brought by a person of sound mind who is not a minor and has an interest in the estate of the deceased person. A widow of the deceased, or another individual having a beneficial interest in the debt, may be entitled to interest. A succession certificate can also be issued to a minor through a guardian. The following information must be included in the petition for a certificate of succession:

  1. Time of death of the deceased
  2. Residence or details of the deceased’s property at the time of death under which the judge’s jurisdiction falls
  3. Details of the petitioner’s family or other close relatives
  4. No impediment to the issue of the certificate and a Copy of the death certificate.

After examining and verifying the petition, the court issues a notice to all parties involved and establishes a time limit during which any person who has an objection can address it. If no one objects to the notice are raised and the court is satisfied, the applicant will be granted the succession certificate. If there is more than one petitioner, the court may award them a certificate jointly, but for a single asset, the court will not grant more than one certificate. A court may sometimes require a bond with one or more securities, surety, or other protection to account for the debts and securities obtained by the succession certificate petitioner in order to indemnify those who may be entitled to a portion of the debt or securities.
Section 370 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 specifically provides that a Succession Certificate should not be granted with respect to any debt or security in cases where a right to such property is required to be established by obtaining letters of administration or a probate however still in certain states, a probate and a succession certificate are compulsory to transfer the title of an immovable property.
The Succession Certificate serves as an authentic document that certifies that the person receiving the Succession Certificate is the rightful owner of the deceased person’s property. It also protects the successor against the loss of a debt or security owed to the deceased by transferring such to the legal heir with the help of Succession Certificate.

Legal Help NRI provides a comprehensive service for the Indian diaspora overseas to obtain such succession certificates so that they can access the hard – earned money invested by their parents into movable assets. We provide this comprehensive service without requiring our clients to fly to India.

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