What is a succession certificate?

A succession certificate is given to the successor of a deceased person who has not prepared a will in order to establish the authenticity of the successor and also to give the certificate holder an authority over the deceased person’s debts and securities. The payment of debts of the deceased person and also the transfer of the securities of the deceased person can be made by the certificate holder even before the legal heir to the property of the deceased is established.

Who issues a succession certificate?

A succession certificate is issued by the district judge of the relevant jurisdiction. The relevant jurisdiction would be where the deceased person ordinarily resided at the time of his death or if no such place is available, the jurisdiction within which any property belonging to the deceased may be found.

What are the particulars to be included in the petition for a succession certificate?

The petition for the succession certificate made to the district judge must be signed and verified by the applicant and include the following details:

  • The time of the death of the deceased
  • The ordinary residence of the deceased at such time of death; and if such ordinary residence is not available, the details of the property that is within the jurisdiction of the district judge to whom such an application is made.
  • The family or other near relatives of the person deceased and their respective residences
  • The rights of the petitioner
  • The absence of any reason to invalidate the grant of the certificate
  • The debts and securities in respect of which the application for such a certificate is made

What is the procedure to obtain a succession certificate?

The legal procedure to obtain the succession certificate is highlighted as below:

Step 1:The applicant will prepare a petition, verify and sign the same and submit it to the district judge in the appropriate jurisdiction after paying the appropriate court fees.

Step 2:The district judge will inspect the application and if the same is admitted, he shall fix a day for the hearing in respect of the same and also send notice of the hearing to whomsoever he thinks fit.

Step 3:After hearing all the parties concerned, the judge will decide if the applicant is within his right to apply for the application and shall grant the certificate to him if satisfied.

Step 4:The district judge may also require the applicant to provide a bond with one or more sureties or any other security so as to make good any possible loss arising out of the use or misuse of such a certificate.

The Author is a Supreme Court Lawyer and Managing Partner of Concept Legal International