Here's all you need to know about Legal Heir Certificate in India

July 16, 2020
By Advocate Chikirsha Mohanty

What is a Legal Heir Certificate?

A Legal Heir Certificate is a certificate that is issued in case of sudden demise of a family member. It consists of all details of names, ages and relationship with the deceased individual. It establishes the relationship with the deceased and is required to transfer the assets of the deceased persons to his/her legal heirs. After the death certificate is obtained,  the successors should apply for the legal heir certificate in order to claim their rights over the deceased’s assets, insurances, etc. 

Any legal heir can apply for a legal heir certificate by following the procedure given below in this article. In simple terms, a legal heir is a surviving family member of the deceased. However, under the Indian statutes, legal heir can be the following:

  1. Spouse,

  2. Daughter, 

  3. Son,

  4. Father, or  

  5. Mother. 

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Why does an individual need a Legal Heir Certificate?

A legal heir certificate is needed in order to identify and establish the legal heir and for claiming the assets and properties of the deceased individual. Several other uses of a legal heir certificate have been stated below:

  1. Insurance claims,

  2. Pension/retirement schemes, 

  3. Any Central or State Gov. schemes,

  4. In case of compassionate employments, 

  5. For transferring assets, etc. 


Procedure to get a Legal Heir Certificate

The Legal Heir Certificate can be applied for by the legal heirs of the deceased only after obtaining the death certificate. The given 8 steps are required to be followed in order to obtain a Legal Heir Certificate:

  1. Approach the appropriate authority- The applicant has to visit the nearest Taluk/Tahasildar Office, or the Corporation/Municipality office of their area, or a District Civil Court in the area to apply for the Certificate. A quick online search can be done by the applicant to know the location of the appropriate authority to be visited by him/her.

  2. Obtain the Application form- The applicant has to obtain the Application form from the officer being approached by him/her.

  3. Fill in the details- All the details in the Application form must duly be filled in by the applicant.

  4. Attach the Documents- After the details of the Application form have been filled in, the applicant will have to attach all the required documents in the Application form. The documents required are listed below in the next section.

  5. Affix the stamp- A Stamp of INR 2 will have to be affixed to the Application form by the applicant.

  6. Submit the Application- After the above steps, the applicant has to submit the complete Application form to the concerned officer.

  7. Verification- The local Revenue Inspector and the Village Administrative Officer will conduct an inspection and complete the verification process of the Application form submitted by the applicant.

  8. Issuance of the Certificate- After the verification process is complete, the Certificate will be issued to the applicant by the concerned authority, mentioning all of the legal heirs of the deceased. In case the Certificate is not received by the applicant, he/she can approach the Revenue Division Officer or the Sub-Collector to obtain the Certificate.

Consult: Top Documentation Lawyers in India

What are the documents required to get a Legal Heir Certificate?

To apply for a Legal Heir Certificate, the following documents are required to be submitted by the applicant to the concerned authority:
  1. Signed Application form.

  2. Identity/Address proof of the applicant. Identity proof could be the Voter ID, Aadhaar Card, Passport, Driving License or any other Government-issued identity card and address proof could be any valid identity proof or mobile/telephone bill, gas bill, bank passbook with the name and address of the legal heir

  3. Proof of date of birth of all legal heirs.

  4. Proof of residence of all legal heirs.

  5. Original Death Certificate of the deceased.

  6. Address proof of the deceased.

  7. Affidavit/Self-undertaking

  8.  Court Fee of INR 1.25/-

  9. Letter from Govt. Dept. of deceased employee to obtain a Legal Heir Certificate from the DC office. 

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How much time does it take to get a Legal Heir Certificate?

The process should usually be completed in its entirety within 30 days, however, if the certificate is not obtained even within these 30 days, one can approach the sub-collector or the Revenue Division Officer in order to receive the certificate. 

Difference between a Legal Heir Certificate and a Succession Certificate

Succession certificate and legal heir certificate are not the same thing. Given below are differences between the two:

  1. A legal heir certificate proves an individual’s claim in the property of a deceased individual, whereas, a succession certificate is required to obtain debts and securities of a deceased person in absence of a will.

  2. A legal heir certificate names the legal heirs of a deceased individual, whereas, a succession certificate states the applicant’s relationship with the deceased and also enlists the securities/debts of the deceased.

  3. A legal heir certificate establishes legal heirs of a deceased person, whereas, a succession certificate gives authority to that particular certificate holder to inherit the securities/debts of a deceased person, while providing protection to the parties making payment of the debts.

  4. With a legal heir certificate, the holder is entitled to inherit the deceased person’s property, whereas, with a succession certificate, the holder of it may not be the ultimate/final beneficiary of the property of the deceased individual.

Consult: Top Documentation Lawyers in India

Why do you need the help of a lawyer for a Legal Heir Certificate?

The procedure of obtaining a legal heir certificate is a complex and time-taking process. It is advised to hire a lawyer as he/she can help draft and register a legal heir certificate with your minimal effort, especially during the time of your grieving the loss of a family member. Generally, documentation or family lawyers are approached for obtaining a legal heir certificate. It is an important document and thus a lawyer’s help would ensure that you get your certificate in proper form and time. A lawyer would ensure proper compliance and hence the process of acquiring a legal heir certificate would comparatively be hassle free. 


These guides are not legal advice, nor a substitute for a lawyer
These articles are provided freely as general guides. While we do our best to make sure these guides are helpful, we do not give any guarantee that they are accurate or appropriate to your situation, or take any responsibility for any loss their use might cause you. Do not rely on information provided here without seeking experienced legal advice first. If in doubt, please always consult a lawyer.

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