Understanding Legal Heirship Certificate and Succession Certificate

Without proper documentation, the process of inheriting property and assets after the death of a loved one can be complex and intimidating. Legal heirship and succession certificates play a crucial role in establishing one’s entitlement to the assets of a deceased person. These certificates are crucial in recognising rightful heirs and empowering successors.

The Indian Succession Act, 1925, establishes the legal heirship and succession certificates for the purpose of transferring the assets of a deceased person, whether they are movable or immovable, to the concerned legal heirs.

Sl. No.Legal Heirship Certificate
Succession Certificate
1.The certificate confirms the legal heirs of a deceased person, along with their relationship shared with the deceased.
Granted to the legal heirs of a deceased person, certifying their rights to inherit the deceased person’s debts, securities, and other movable properties
2.Issued by local revenue department or municipal corporation or other local authority
Court issued document
3.Often act as a substitute for the succession certificate
Often applied when the legal heirship certificate is not accepted
4.Serves as evidence of who all are the legal heirs of the deceased
Facilitates the transfer of movable assets from the deceased person’s name to the rightful heirs
5.Required for claiming insurance benefits, pension, provident fund, gratuity, etc. 
Enables the legal heirs to claim, transfer, and manage the deceased person’s movable assets such as bank deposits, shares, mutual funds, and debts
6.Facilitates the transfer of property titles, electricity, water, and telephonic connections, and other utilities in the name of legal heirs
Legal documents to settle outstanding debts, loans, and liabilities of the deceased person
7.Essential for accessing bank accounts, safety lockers, and other financial assets of the deceased person
Protection against unauthorized claims and disputes over the deceased person’s movable properties

The main difference between legal heirship certificate and succession certificate is that a legal heirship certificate covers both movable and immovable properties and utilities, whereas succession certificate is limited to movable assets.

A legal heirship certificate can be applied by Spouse/Parents/Children of the deceased, as soon as the death certificate is received. The person applying for the legal heirship certificate adds the names of other heirs to be considered as the legal heirs of the deceased. The certificate mentions mere ownership of the property and not the percentage share of the assets entitled by the legal heirs.

The legal heirship certificate has a narrower purpose when compared to the succession certificate and is much easier to get. The ambit of the succession certificate is wide with extensive jurisdiction over the estate of the deceased. 

Disclaimer: The views / the analysis contained therein do not constitute a legal opinion and is not intended to be an advice. Readers of this document are advised to seek their own professional advice before taking any course of action or decision, based on this document.

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