Succession Certificate–what and how?

I got a nice comment on my earlier post on nominations which mentioned a slight correction in the post about the PPF withdrawal limit of 1 Lakh. The comment mentioned that if the person has a succession certificate then the entire amount will be given to the legal heirs. Let us talk more about this “succession certificate”.
A succession certificate is a document obtained for a deceased person who did not have a will. It contains the list of deceased person’s debts and securities. The problem is that most people think that if the succession certificate is obtained then the person is the rightful owner of the deceased person’s properties, which is not the truth.
A succession certificate allows the person to act exactly similar to how a nominee would act. It gives the authority to the holder for distributing the deceased person’s assets. So how would the person decide to distribute the assets? He has to look at the succession law and based on that he decided to distribute the assets.

The way to obtain the Succession Certificate is to
  1. Make an application to the district judge (where the deceased person is residing).
  2. The application should contain details about the time of death of the deceased person, the place of his/her residence, details of all the legal heirs, the debt and securities in respect of which the certificate is applied for etc
  3. If the district judge is satisfied with the application and accepts the legal ground for entertaining the application, he may assign a hearing date.
  4. The court will issue notices to all the concerned parties (typically all legal heirs).
  5. A newspaper notice has to be issued apart from the mandatory notice to the respondents. A typical wait period for this notice is 1.5 months from the date of publication.
  6. After the hearing, if the district judge decides that the right of Succession Certificate belongs to the applicant, the judge will pass the order to grant the certificate.
  7. Once the order is passed, the applicant has to submit judicial stamp papers and court fees as per the court rules.
  8. It is important to note that the court fee is a percentage of the value of the asset with a maximum limit. So if the asset value is very high, the court fees could actually be very handsome. (Say for flat of Rs 40 Lakh, the fees could be Rs 75000)
  9. It typically takes 3-4 months for the entire procedure to be completed and getting the certificate.
  10. Once you have the certificate, you are authenticated to distribute the assets to the legal heirs as per the succession laws.
The succession laws in India are very complicated and are very different based on a person’s religion (for e.g. Hindu Succession Act & Christian Law of Succession).
Disclaimer: Please note that I am not an expert in legal laws and it is advisable to visit a qualified lawyer for any truthful information on such laws before making any legal moves.I do not take any responsibility, if you read this post and act based on it.


  1. Anonymous10:54 AM

    thnx.. v v usefull

  2. my father left his account with approx 11 lac without nominee ,what to do get money please give me suggetion soon on