Difference Between Legal Heir Certificate & Succession Certificate

There is a common misperception that a Succession Certificate and a Legal Heir Certificate are the same things. However, this is not the case, as while both appear to serve the same function of granting the deceased’s successors or legal heirs entitlement to the deceased’s entire securities and debts, they are frequently regarded as distinct from a legal standpoint. A succession certificate is necessary for legal successors to claim the deceased’s movable/immovable property, whereas a legal heir certificate is required for the transferor entitlement to benefits titled to the deceased.

Disputes arise when ownership rights in property are granted without the correct identification of its legal heir. After completing some legal processes, property through inheritance normally transfers to the rightful heir. These formalities are not complete until the beneficiaries are properly indemnified as the true heir/s or lawful recipients of the rights or property.

These documents are made on the basis of the deceased’s legal will or self-declaring paperwork for the transfer of his property to any person or group after his death. In the absence of a written will, the person must obtain documentation such as a Succession Certificate or a Legal Heir Certificate in order to lawfully inherit the deceased’s property in his own name.

Succession Certificate

A Succession certificate is granted by the appropriate court to the person or organization named as the legal successor of the deceased, granting him jurisdiction over overall assets, securities, debts, and rights bequeathed by the deceased to his legal heir.

A Succession Certificate issued with the consent of the District Judge will only be the conclusive representation of the deceased’s successor, according to Section 381 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925. In a case when a person has died and left behind certain securities or obligations, the court steps in.

Without the formation of a will, the court identifies his lawful heirs and gives succession certification. Aside from the ownership rights to the securities, the successor is also liable for the deceased’s debts, which must be paid in good faith.

A succession certificate contains the following information: 

-The name of the deceased and the successor, the address and related details of both, the successor’s rights of possession over the deceased’s debts and securities, and the successor’s rights of possession over the deceased’s debts and securities.


Difference Between Legal Heir Certificate & Succession Certificate:

Basis Succession Certificate Legal Heir Certificate
Purpose A succession certificate is essential for the legal heir to acquire movable or immovable property in their name. The document also results in the transfer of debts to the deceased’s heirs. A certificate also ensures creditors’ security for payments from lawful successors. A certificate is required to claim benefits such as provident fund, pension, power bill connection, or other benefits that the dead were entitled to at the time of their death.
Eligibility Only heirs (children or grandchildren) can apply to the competent court for a succession certificate. Can only be received by the deceased’s lawful heirs, which include the deceased’s parents, spouse, children, or siblings.
Authorization to Issue District court or a competent court close to the deceased’s residence. Municipality / Administrative Officer / District Revenue officer
Conclusive Proof of Immovable Property Legal Heirship Yes, according to the Indian Succession Act of 1925. No
Period of Allotment It may take one or two months for allotment because the certificate must be published in a newspaper daily for opposition for a specified period. Usually, allotments are made within 10 to 15 days.
Subsidiary Document A court-issued document that cannot be ignored in any immovable property transfer or succession. In property transfers, asserting legal heirship is used as a secondary document.

While both the legal heirship certificate and the succession certificate are obtained to establish and authenticate the person’s status as the legal heir of the deceased, the certificates are distinct from one another and serve distinct purposes.

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Legal Heir Certificate- 

Every person who wishes to legally represent oneself as the legal heir of a deceased person must obtain a legal heir certificate.

There may be an unanticipated death in the family. Legal heirs must get a legal heir certificate in order to receive rights of the deceased in various schemes or investments formed by him during his lifetime or to which he was entitled when no nominee is appointed.

The legal heirs would need a legal heir certificate to claim rights to the deceased person’s bank balance, property, insurance, pension, gratuity, provident fund, salary in arrears, or other benefits.

A legal heir certificate must be obtained by:

Parents of the deceased

Spouse of the deceased

children of the deceased or;

Siblings of the deceased.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I apply online for a legal heir certificate?

Yes. A legal heir certificate can be obtained online. Fill out the form for getting a legal heir certificate on your district’s e-portal and attach the needed documents. You must pay the costs while submitting the form online. When the certificate is ready, it can be downloaded through the e-portal.

2. Why is Legal Inheritance Certification required?

Legal heirs must obtain certification for a legal inheritance to collect the deceased person’s benefits or entitlements. A succession certificate is used by legal successors of the deceased to legally inherit immovable or movable property.

3. Can a person with a legal heir certificate sell the deceased person’s property?

No. The legal heir certificate only gives the possessor the right to claim insurance, receive government dues such as provident fund, gratuity, and so on, and recover arrears. A person with a succession certificate may sell the deceased’s property. However, a person may sell the deceased person’s property only with the written approval and No Objection Certificate (NOC) of other lawful heirs.4. How to Obtain Legal Inheritance Certification?

A. To get A Succession Certificate:

A succession certificate can be obtained by petitioning any competent court near the deceased’s location for a grant of succession certificate. After receiving all merit confirmations from successors and related parties, a succession certificate is granted upon publication of such a petition in a newspaper.

To Get a Legal Heir Certificate:

A legal heir certificate can be obtained by applying for a grant of certificate to the competent administrative officer of the region or the local municipality. The authorities (tehsildar/talukdar or any other officer designated for the purpose) will accept the information and documentation presented by the individual claiming to be the lawful heir.