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As per the laws of Descent and Distribution, an heir is an individual who receives an interest in, or ownership of, land, tenements, or hereditaments from an ancestor who has died intestate (i.e. without making a will). As per the Common Law, an heir is an individual appointed by law to succeed to the estate of an ancestor who died without a will. Commonly, an heir refers to an individual who succeeds in property, either by will or law.
Note: an heir cannot be determined until the moment of death of the person leaving the property since a supposed beneficiary (i.e. an heir apparent) might die first.
As per Civil Law, a legal heir is one who is of the same blood of the deceased, and who takes the succession by force of law. It is different from a testamentary or conventional heir, who takes the succession in virtue of the disposition of man. A legal heir is a person who represents the assets of the deceased. A legal heir certificate is essential to obtain for transferring the assets of the deceased to his or her legal heirs in case of death of an individual without making a will. This certificate establishes the relationship between the deceased and his/her legal heirs. After obtaining the death certificate, the successors need to apply for the legal heir certificate if they want to claim their right over the deceased person’ property and also settle his debts and obligations.
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The following persons are the legal heirs of a deceased person and thus only they can get a legal heir certificate:
Parents of the deceased
Children of the deceased
Husband or wife of the deceased
Siblings of the deceased
Yes, an individual can apply for legal heir certificate online through the e-district portal. There you need to upload certain documents which are the same as required in case of making an application for a legal heir certificate offline, which are death certificate of the deceased, affidavit, identity proof, etc. These documents are required to be submitted while making an application request online.
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A legal heir certificate can be obtained by approaching the area/taluk tehsildar, or from the corporation/municipality office of the respective area, and from the district civil court. A legal heir certificate may also be obtained by making an online application through the e-district portal.
A tehsildar is a tax officer accompanied by Revenue inspectors. They are in charge of obtaining taxes from a tehsil with regard to Land Revenue.
Legal Heir certificate can be obtained by approaching the area/taluk Tehsildar, or from the corporation/municipality office of the respective area, and from the district civil court. This certificate names all legal heirs of the deceased person and is issued only after a proper enquiry. Listed below are the steps involved in the process of obtaining a legal heir certificate:
The legitimate heir of the deceased person must approach the appropriate authority in the respective area with a signed application. This application should contain the names of all the legal heirs, their relationship with the deceased and addresses of the family members. The death certificate of the deceased person should also be attached.
An affidavit on stamp paper has to be submitted.
Revenue Inspector/administrative officer conducts an inspection and completes the enquiry.
Once the enquiry is completed successfully, the authorised officer issues the Legal heir certificate
The process of obtaining a legal heir certificate generally takes 30 days. If there is an unnecessary delay in receiving this certificate or the concerned authorities fail to respond, you should then approach the Revenue Division Officer (RDO)/ sub-collector.
The following documents need to be submitted along with the application for issuing a legal heir certificate:
Original death certificate of the deceased
Service certificate issued by the head of the department/ office, in case the deceased was a serving employee
Ration card and Aadhaar card
Pensioner payment slip issued by the office of the Accountant General, in case the deceased was a pensioner
Name of the family members of the deceased and their relationship with the deceased
An affidavit on a stamp paper worth rupees 20
This certificate identifies the rightful successor who can claim the assets or properties of the deceased person. It is necessary that all the eligible successors must possess this certificate to be able to claim over the deceased person’s property. Thus the various legal heir certificate uses are as follows:
For transferring properties and assets of the deceased person to his or her heirs.
For claiming insurance.
For sanctioning and processing the family pension of the deceased.
To receive salary arrears of the deceased in case he/she was a State or Central Government employee.
To gain employment based on compassionate appointments.
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 legitimate or the legal heir of the deceased needs to register himself in the income tax department.
Certain documents are required for the registration of a legal heir in income tax. These documents are listed below:
PAN Card of the deceased
Self-attested PAN Card of the legal heir
Legal heir certificate
An affidavit in the presence of the Notary Public
To register as a legal heir in income tax, the following steps need to be followed:
The legal heir must be registered on the income tax e-filing portal. If you haven’t been registered you must register yourself first.
Once logged in, select the ‘register as the Representative’ option.
Select the type of Request from the drop-down menu as New Request.
Select ‘register yourself on behalf of another person’ from the drop-down menu.
In the field of the category to register, select the ‘estate of deceased’ option.
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.
Select the documents to be uploaded by clicking on the choose file option.
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.
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 Court of Law.
Written by: Anshu Tulsyan