When a deceased person does not make a Will and dies then a document named Succession Certificate is obtained in India and it is governed by The Indian Succession Act 1925. A Will is a legal document that states the person’s wish for division of property. Succession Certificate is used as a legal document wherein a deceased person’s debts and securities are known. It is also used to transfer property and possessions of deceased person to his/her rightful heirs. A qualified friend gets the authority under Succession Certificate to distribute the deceased’s things.
To obtain a Succession Certificate a person has to make an application in the court. It will usually be where the property of deceased relative is situated or that person resided. Upon checking the value of the estate of the deceased, the matter will go to such type of court which usually deals for that value matter and it is known as pecuniary jurisdiction. As per section 380 of The Indian Succession Act,1925 Succession Certificate is effected throughout the whole India.
After applying to the court, all the names of other heirs of the late relatives as respondent has to be informed. Apart from mandatory notice to the respondents, a newspaper notice is also issued. It roughly takes around 6 – 8 months from the date of filing to receive a Succession Certificate. Both District Court and High Court have concurrent jurisdiction and a petition for Succession Certificate can be heard. A petition should contain the relationship of petitioner with the deceased. The time, date, place of death details should also be mentioned in it and attach the death certificate and any other documents as the court may require. When a newspaper notice is given it specifies a time frame within which, if anyone who has objections can do so, usually it will be one and a half month time frame. If it is not contested and if the court is satisfied then it will issue a succession certificate to the petitioner.
Where a Probate of Letter of Administration is necessary then Succession Certificate is not granted in those cases. The court also levies some percentage of value of estate as a fee which may be 3% of value of asset. When the certificate is handed over to the concerned person he/she has the authority to distribute assets as per succession laws. In Muthia vs Ramnatham, (1918 MWN 242) it was held that a grantee gets the title to recover the debt due by deceased when he gets the certificate and any payment to grantee will be a discharge of debt.
by Sushma Javare.