Legal Heir Certificate

A Legal Heir Certificate is a legal document that proves a relationship between a deceased person and another person identifying them as heirs to the deceased person. It is an important document required to claim the properties and assets of a deceased person.

A Legal Heir Certificate can be required for several reasons such as:

  1. Inheriting property and assets such as shares, businesses, stocks, etc.
  2. Inheriting benefits from banks such as savings account balances, accessing lockers, and fixed deposits.
  3. It is also required by government authorities while transferring pensions such as employee provident funds and inheriting insurance such as property insurance or life insurance.
  4. Legal heir certificate is also a preliminary step to obtain a succession Certificate which is required to claim high-value assets of the deceased and can be asked by the authorities concerned.

The people who can apply for a legal heir certificate must share one of the following relationships with the deceased person

  1. They must have been married to the deceased during the time of the death
  2. They must be children of the deceased either by blood or adoption
  3. They must be the parents of the deceased either by blood or adoption

STEP 1: Identify your state and visit their Revenue Department website to fill out the application form. For many states, an online process is available while for others, physical presence to the revenue departments in your area may be required.

State/Union Territory
Andhra Pradesh
Arunachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh
Tamil Nadu
Uttar Pradesh
West Bengal
Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu
Jammu and Kashmir

STEP 2: Identify who are all the legal heirs of the deceased according to the Indian Succession Act, 1956.

STEP 3: Arrange the required documents to be submitted along with the Application form.

  • Death Certificate of the deceased
  • Proof of Relationship (Examples: Aadhaar Card of a legal heir bearing the name of the deceased person, Marriage Certificate, Adoption Certificate, etc)
  • Identity Proof of applicants (Examples: Aadhaar card, Driver's license, passport, etc.)
  • Affidavit by all Legal Heirs on ₹20 stamp.
  • 2 passport-size pictures of all applicants

STEP 4: Submit your documents: Identify the tehsil based on the location where the deceased person lived from the table below and submit your documents and application form in the tehsil applicable. Other than the affidavit, there is no fee for applying for a legal heir certificate.

After you submit the application, the application undergoes a verification process, during which additional supporting documents may be requested. If everything is perfect, then the legal heir certificate will be issued.

The Indian Succession Act of 1925 is a law that pertains to wills, intestate succession, and administration of the estates of deceased persons across various communities in India. It broadly has three provisions that are discussed below:

  • Intestate Succession: It specifies the distribution of property when an individual dies without a will. It also outlines the hierarchy of legal heirs entitled to inherit the deceased's estate categorising them as class I, class II, etc.
  • Testamentary Succession: This section specifies the rules for making and executing wills, which allow individuals to control the distribution of their property after their death. It also states that a will must be in writing, signed by the testator, and witnessed by two independent witnesses.
  • Probate and Administration: Provides the process for obtaining grants of probate or letters of administration, authorizing executors or administrators to manage and distribute the deceased person's assets.

While the Indian Succession Act, of 1925 covers the general succession laws, there are various other religion-specific laws as well that abide by religious text. These laws are mentioned below:

  • Hindu Succession Act, 1956: Specifically governs the inheritance and succession rights of Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs, defining the rules of succession among these communities.
  • Muslim Personal Law: Based on Islamic principles, it regulates inheritance and succession among Muslims in India, known as Sharia law.
  • Parsi Succession Act, 1865: Pertains to succession among the Parsi community in India, outlining rules related to wills and intestacy.

The difference between a legal heir certificate and a succession certificate are detailed below

Legal Heir CertificateSuccession Certificate
1.A certificate to only identify the rightful heirs and the successors of the deceased person’s assets.A certificate that grants the heir the permission to claim the assets, securities, and debts of the deceased.
2.It is issued by the revenue department of the area where the deceased person is fromIt is issued by the civil courts where it is important to prove a relationship between the heirs and the person deceased.
3.This certificate is sufficient to inherit bank deposits, pensions, and provident funds. Essentially it is required for the transfer of movable assets.This certificate is required for transferring debts and assets such as property, stock investments, etc. Essentially it is required for the transfer of movable and immovable assets.
4.The issuing process can take up to a few weeksThe issuing process can take up to a few months

Frequently Asked Questions

The processing time can vary. Generally, it takes a few weeks to a couple of months, depending on the verification process and the workload of the authorities.