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With many personal laws and statutes governing the issue of marriage, divorce, and succession in India, it is imperative to find a legal heir to identify the legal successor of the inherited property or the insurance claims.
As per the Indian Constitution, in case of the death of a person, a legal document that helps in ascertaining who is next of kin or who is the legal heir of a person is known as a Legal Heir Certificate. It mentions details like the name, age, the relationship of the legal heirs to the deceased and the marital status of the next of kin.
A legal heir, in simple terms, is a surviving family member but under Indian laws, the following are considered to be a legal heir:
Spouse of the deceased
Daughter of the deceased
Son of the deceased
Father of the deceased
Mother of the deceased
Legal Heir Certificate can be used for,
Claims for insurance
Claims for pension, retirement schemes, etc.
Claims for any Central or State Government schemes
Get employment on the basis of compassionate appointments
Transfer of assets
Any legal heir can apply for a legal heir certificate. Any interested legal heir can do so by filing an application before the Municipal Corporation or before the Tehsildar. Such an application must contain the names and details of all the legal heirs of the deceased.
The procedure for getting a Legal Heir Certificate can be completed in 8 simple steps however, in order to ensure proper compliance, one can approach a family lawyer for the same.
Step 1- Visit the Tehsildar or the Taluk office. You can do a quick search for the Tehsildar office online to know the location.
Step 2- Obtain the application form from the concerned Tehsildar
Step 3- Fill out the details in the application form
Step 4- Attach the documents asked for in the form. You can also access the required documents in the next section under this Article.
Step 5- Affix a stamp of Rs. 2 in the application form
Step 6- Submit the application form to the Tehsildar’s office.
Step 7- Now your application shall be verified by the Revenue Inspector and the Village Administrator Office
Step 8- Now you shall get your certificate within 30 days. In case you do not receive it, you should approach the Revenue Division Officer or the sub-collector to get the certificate.
As mentioned above there are certain documents that need to be attached to the application form. These are
A notarized Affidavit.
Identity Proof of the Applicant
Death Certificate of the deceased in original
Address proof of the deceased
Proof of birth and date of birth of all legal heirs
Letter from the Govt. Department of the deceased employee to obtain Legal Heir Certificate from DC office
Proof of residence of all legal heirs
Court Fee worth Rs. 1.25/
Usually, the entire process gets done within 30 days but if the certificate is not obtained after 30 days you can visit Revenue Division Officer or the sub-collector to get the certificate.
You can also access the application form online through this link.
"Legal Heir is an essential document to get the retirement benefit claims, gratuity and provident fund claims along with the pension and insurance claims of the deceased. It established the authenticity of the heir and gives them the authority to inherit the assets of the deceased," says Advocate Ankit Sharma.
A legal heir certificate is given to distinguish the living beneficiaries of a deceased individual but a succession certificate is given to build up the credibility of the beneficiaries and give them the power to acquire debts, assets and different resources of the deceased.
LEGAL HEIR CERTIFICATE
Issued to the living heirs
Issued to the legal heir to establish the title on the property
How to obtain
Through Tehsildar or Taluk Office
Through Civil Court and High Court
Time to obtain
30 days maximum
Relevance of the document
Helps in identifying the living heirs and getting the relevant pension or tax benefits
Helps in identifying rightful legal heirs in property transfer matters
Stamp duty of Rs. 2 and Rs. 20 on Affidavit
A certain percentage of the value of the property in question
One can also access the E-portal of the district and fill the form along with attaching the documents specified in this article. In terms of filing the Income Tax Returns for the deceased, the following link can help in registering as the legal heir.
According to the Income Tax Act, 1961, the legal heir of a deceased person is required to file an income tax return of the deceased on his behalf if the latter had taxable income in the previous year. Thus, for this purpose, the legal heir of the deceased needs to register himself in the income tax department.
STEP 1: The legal heir must be registered on the income tax e-filing portal. If you haven’t been registered you must register yourself first.
STEP 2: Once logged in, select the ‘register as the Representative’ option.
STEP 3: Select the type of Request from the drop-down menu as a New Request.
STEP 4: Select ‘register yourself on behalf of another person’ from the drop-down menu.
STEP 5: In the field of the category to register, select the ‘estate of deceased’ option.
STEP 6: After clicking on the ‘proceed’ button, you will be redirected to a new page where you have to provide details of the estates of the deceased such as the name of the estate, date of incorporation of deceased, PAN, etc. Also, the date of death of the deceased, the name of the deceased needs to be entered.
STEP 7: Select the documents to be uploaded by clicking on the choose file option.
STEP 8: After submitting all the details, click on the ‘submit’ button. The request will be forwarded to the e-filing Administrator.
The e-filing Administrator will review the request and will approve or reject the same. Also, he may approve as a temporary or permanent legal heir on the basis of the legal heir certificate uploaded by the applicant. The final status of registration will be updated through mail to the registered email ID of the applicant.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can you apply for a legal certificate online?
One can apply for a legal heir certificate online by logging in to the E-district portal. You have to upload certain documents like the death certificate of the deceased, affidavit, ID proof, etc.
Can a daughter after marriage be a legal heir?
Yes. Daughters whether married or not will enjoy rights equal to that of the son, since 2005 as per amendment of the Succession Act.
Can a nominee be a legal heir?
The nominee will be the trustee/caretaker of the assets. No ownership rights will be given to a nominee.
Is legal heir certificate and surviving certificate the same?
Yes. A surviving certificate is given to a surviving member of the deceased and a legal heir certificate is given to the one who holds the claims of the deceased. But you can only hold ownership after you're granted the succession certificate from court.
Who is eligible for a legal heir certificate?
Any living family member or a person having blood relations with the deceased is eligible for a legal heir certificate if it is within the class specified above.
Who are the legal heirs of the deceased?
The Parents, siblings, spouse, and children of the deceased are considered to be the legal heirs.
What is the difference between a legal heir certificate and a family member certificate?
A Family Member Certificate is issued by the Village Officer stating the list of family members of the deceased. It is obtained in a short period of time but is not properly verified as the Legal Heir Certificate.
How do I verify a legal heir certificate?
The verification is done by the Tehsildar upon your application for the issuance of the Legal Heir Certificate.
Who inherits when there is no will?
In case of no will, an Intestate Succession shall be initiated.
Is a married daughter eligible for a Legal Heir Certificate?
Yes, she is. Following the amendment of 2005, now married daughters are also considered to be legal heirs.
How do I get a copy of my legal heir certificate?
You can either apply for a certificate with the revenue official (Tehsildar) or get a certified copy of the earlier certificate issued to anyone else if you know the reference details. If it has been more than 6 months from the date of death; you will have to get it through the Court of Law.