A succession certificate is issued to the successor or successors, as the case may be, of a deceased person in relation to money deposited in a bank account, moveable belonging retained in a bank locker, and other sureties or instruments including bonds, certificates, and shares for the purpose to pay off the debts of the deceased person to creditors or for the purpose of distribution among the legal heirs of the deceased predecessor.
A succession certificate is issued by the District Judge of the relevant jurisdiction. Jurisdiction of the District Judge is where the cause of action accrued.
Succession Certificate can be sought for movable items of the deceased person and is required when a person dies in order to transfer the movable property of the deceased person to his/her legal heirs. Movable property for which succession certificate may be sought includes insurance claims, money kept in a bank account, stocks, prize bonds, stock exchange shares, items lying in bank lockers, saving certificates, etc.
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The following are the documents that are required for the grant of succession certificate from the District Court:
• Death certificate of a deceased person
• Statement of Account duly issued by bank reflecting the name of a deceased person
• Copy of prize bonds, if any
• Copy of Saving Certificates, if any
• Copy of share certificate, if any
• Proof of ownership of shares in Partnership business or company as the case may be if any
• Proof of other documents reflecting the entitlement or ownership of the deceased person in relation to movable items detailed above.
Procedure to Obtain a Succession Certificate
The legal procedure to obtain the succession (Death certificate) in detail consists of the following steps, conducted in rational sequence and chronological order:
1) Applicant seeking to obtain a Succession Certificate is required to prepare a petition in prescribed form and manner, duly signed, attested, and verified by Oath Commissioner and submit it before the District Judge having jurisdiction to proceed in the matter after fulfilling the formal requirement.
2) District Judge shall proceed and adjudicate the matter in the same manner as a civil suit and fix a day for hearing in the petition and serve notices upon the relevant parties to make representation on the said date.
3) Upon hearing the parties, the court shall fix a date for evidence to be recorded and shall consequently proceed to decide the matter and shall make orders for the grant of succession (Death certificate).
4) After the order is made on the petition, the applicant is required to provide security in the shape of a bond for the amount as the court may deem fit, to protect the right of any person that may be affected by the issuance, use, or misuse of the certificate.