A Succession Certificate is a certificate which is granted by Courts in India to the legal heirs of a person dying intestate leaving debts and securities. A person is said to have passed away intestate when he/she does not leave a legal will. Succession Certificates entitle the holders to make payments of debt or transfer securities to the holder of the certificate without having to ascertain the legal heir entitled to it. Succession Certificates provide indemnity to all members owing such debts and liable on such securities with regards to all payments made to or dealings made in good faith with a person to whom a Certificate has been granted. Therefore, many persons and organizations request for succession certificates before settling the debts or securities of the deceased in favour of the person claiming such debts and securities.
PROCEDURE TO OBTAIN A SUCCESSION CERTIFICATE
To obtain such a certificate, a petition to the District Judge within whose jurisdiction the deceased person ordinarily resided at the time of his/her death or, if at that time he/she has no fixed place of residence, the District Judge within whose jurisdiction any part of the property of the deceased may be found.
PETITION FOR CERTIFICATE
A petition for Succession Certificate must contain the following particulars:
- Time of death of the deceased;
- Residence or details of properties of the deceased at the time of death within the jurisdiction it falls under;
- Details of family or other near relatives;
- Rights of the petitioner;
- Absence of any impediment to the grant of the certificate.
GRANT OF CERTIFICATE
On making the petition, if the District Judge is satisfied with the grounds of the petition, he/she can grant an opportunity of hearing to the person who, in his/her opinion, should be heard. After hearing the case from all parties, the Judge can decide the right of the Petitioner to be granted the Succession Certificate. The Judge would then pass an order for the grant of certificate specifying the debts and securities set forth in the application empowering the person to receive the interest or dividend or to negotiate or transfer or do both.
VALIDITY OF SUCCESSION CERTIFICATE
A Succession Certificate is valid across India. If a certificate is granted in a foreign country by an Indian representative accredited to that State, it should be stamped in accordance with the Court Fees Act, 1870 to have the same effect in India as a certificate granted in India.
RESTRICTION ON SUCCESSION CERTIFICATE
Sometimes, a Court may require a bond with one or more surety or sureties or any other security for rendering an account of debts and securities received by the petitioner of succession certificate for indemnifying the persons who may be entitled to any part of the debtor the securities.