- To obtain a legal heir certificate, a person needs to apply in the respective area’s tehsildar’s office or corporation/municipality office or district civil court.
- The spouse, children, parents of the deceased can apply for the legal heir certificate.
- The legal heirs of the deceased person can claim his/her insurance policy, pension, access to bank accounts, compassionate job, etc.
- The holder of the legal heir certificate can also file the tax returns on behalf of the deceased person.
A legal heir certificate is a document which helps an individual to prove themselves as the righteous heir of the deceased person and to prove the legitimate relationship between the individual and the deceased person. The person having the legal heir certificate can claim the assets and liabilities of the deceased person. After the demise of a person, as soon as the death certificate is obtained, his/her righteous legal heir can apply for the legal heir certificate. The legal heir can hire a lawyer to draft and register the legal heir certificate.
All the successors of the deceased person should possess the legal heir certificate. If they do not have the legal heir certificate, then they cannot claim the assets of the deceased person.
WHO ARE LEGAL HEIRS
A legal heir is any person, whether male or female, who is entitled to succeed the property and dues of the deceased person.
Following persons can be considered as legal heirs:
a) Spouse of the deceased
b) Daughter of the deceased
c) Son of the deceased
d) Father of the deceased
e) Mother of the deceased
USE OF LEGAL HEIR CERTIFICATE
As mentioned above, a legal heir certificate is obtained by an individual who is the righteous heir of the deceased person. There is a legitimate relationship between them.
Legal certificate is required for following purposes:
a) To transfer properties and assets.
b) To claim Insurance.
c) To claim Pension.
d) To receive dues such as provident fund, gratuity etc. from the Government.
e) To receive salary arrears of the deceased State or Central Government employee.
f) To gain employment based on compassionate appointments.
TRANSFER OF PROPERTY AND ASSETS
For the legal heir of the deceased person to sell the property of the deceased person, he first needs to prove his relationship with the deceased person and needs to prove that he is the righteous heir of the deceased person. Even the person buying such land needs to keep such things clear from the start itself. If the owner dies intestate without making any will and not mentioning the distribution between the legal heirs, then in such situations, it becomes more complicated. The legitimate legal heirs need to apply for the legal heir certificate to prove their heirship and the relation between them and the deceased person.
Only the legal heir certificate is not enough to prove the relationship between legal heirs and the deceased person. There needs to be other proof as well. Succession certificate is for the official legal heir of the deceased person, who has the right to take financial decisions on behalf of the deceased person.
INSURANCE CLAIM OF DECEASED PERSON
Insurance policy is treated as the estate of the deceased person. The very first priority to claim the insurance policy is given to the nominee of the policyholder. The provision of beneficial nominee is introduced in the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Act, 2015. In the absence of the beneficial nominee, the legal heir can claim the insurance of the deceased person.
Any person holding the legal heir certificate does not have the right over the beneficial nominee to claim the insurance. The beneficial nominee has the right over the legal heir.
If there are multiple legal heirs and only one is claiming the insurance, then all other legal heirs need to agree and express their consent to the insurer for that.
FILING INCOME TAX RETURNS
Legal heir certificate is also a must to file tax returns on behalf of the deceased person. According to Section 159 of Income Tax Act 1961, if an individual dies, then the person who is the legal heir of the deceased is liable to pay any sum which the deceased would have been liable to pay. Although the legal heir is not responsible to pay this by his/her own pocket, he is liable to pay only to the extent of assets he/she will be inheriting.
Following is the procedure for a legal heir to file tax returns on behalf of the deceased person:
- The legal heir must open the income tax e-Filing portal.
- If the legal heir is a registered user, he can log in using his account details. If not, he needs to create a new account by clicking on the ‘register yourself’ option. He must provide all the necessary information like PAN, Surname, Middle Name, First Name, Date of Birth, and Residential Status and complete the registration process.
- After successfully logging in, he can register himself as a representative.
- He needs to click on the ‘Select New Request’ from the drop-down menu in the ‘Request Type’ option.
- In the ‘Add/Register as representative’ section, one must select ‘Register yourself on behalf of another person’ from the drop-down menu.
- In the ‘Category to Register’ section, select ‘Estate of Deceased’ from the drop-down menu.
- Click on the ‘Proceed’ option, and the legal heir will be redirected to an external page.
- Provide all the details like PAN, name of the estate, and date of incorporation of the deceased.
- The applicant needs to make a ZIP file of size less than 1 Mb that includes documents like a self-attested copy of PAN Card of legal heir, PAN Card of the deceased person, copy of the Death Certificate, Legal Heir Certificate or Affidavit in the presence of a Notary Public.
- After uploading the documents, the applicant needs to click on the ‘submit’ button from where the request will be transferred to the e-Filing Administrator.
- The legal heir’s request will be reviewed by the e-Filing Administrator and will either be accepted or rejected based on the details provided. In case of acceptance, the applicant will either be appointed as the legal heir or the temporary heir.
- Status of Registration will be sent to the mail id from which the legal heir has logged in. He can check the status of the request by accessing the ‘My Request’ tab. Once the applicant has been approved as the legal heir, he/she can file income tax on behalf of the deceased person.
HOW TO OBTAIN LEGAL HEIR CERTIFICATE
To obtain legal heir certificate, one needs to apply in their respective taluka tehsildar office or corporation/municipality office or the district civil court.
- After obtaining the death certificate from the corporation/municipality office of the deceased person, one can apply for obtaining the legal heir certificate.
- The legitimate heir of the deceased person needs to visit the respective area’s taluka tehsildar’s office or corporation/municipality office. The heir can ask for the application form to obtain a legal heir certificate.
- After filling the form, the heir can submit it in the tehsildar’s office or municipality office or he/she can hire a lawyer and the lawyer can submit the application form in the district civil court on the heir’s behalf.
- The legitimate heir of the deceased person needs to attach necessary documents with the application form proving the relationship between him/her and the deceased person.
- The legal heir needs to submit a stamped and notarized affidavit with the application for legal heir certificate.
- The enquiry shall be noted and the revenue inspector or an administrative officer shall conduct a thorough inspection of the facts.
- After the inspection is completed and there is no issue reported by the inspection officer, then the legal heir certificate shall be issued to the heir of the deceased person.
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR OBTAINING THE LEGAL HEIR CERTIFICATE
For obtaining the legal heir certificate, the applicant has to provide the following documents to the concerned authority.
- Application form – filled with accurate information and signed.
- Applicant’s identity or address proof- Identity proof can be proved by the applicant’s Aadhar Card, Driving License, Voter ID Card, Passport, or any other Identity Card issued by the Government of India. Address proof can be proved by any acceptable ID proof or any gas bill, telephone or mobile bill, passbook, etc.
- Death certificate of the deceased person- It can be obtained from the corporation/ municipality office.
- Proof of Date of Birth of all legal heirs- It can be proved by submitting a copy of a PAN Card, Passport, Birth Certificate, School Transfer or Leaving Certificate, etc.
- Address proof of the deceased person.
- A stamped and notarized affidavit.
DOCUMENTS TO BE SUBMITTED BY PERSON APPLYING FOR LEGAL HEIR CERTIFICATE
If spouse of the deceased applies for certificate, the documents required are Aadhaar Card, Marriage Registration Certificate or passport or Voter ID, birth certificate or transfer certificate of all children, and self-declaration of the spouse indicating all other legal heirs (including mother-in-law, if wife is the applicant).
If the child whose parent are deceased applies for the legal heir certificate, the documents to be submitted are the death certificate of the parents, birth certificate / Aadhaar / passport / transfer certificate of the applicant and Aadhaar cards of all possible heirs.
In case a minor child applies when parents are deceased, the documents required are death certificate of the parents, birth certificate / Aadhaar / passport / transfer certificate of the applicant and Aadhaar cards of all possible heirs, and the guardianship order issued by the Honorable Civil Court to prove relationship to the heirs.
If parents or sibling apply (in case unmarried children pass away), the documents required are death certificate of the deceased, birth certificate / Aadhaar / passport / transfer certificate of the deceased, and the self-declaration of the parents / siblings.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LEGAL HEIR CERTIFICATE AND SUCCESSION CERTIFICATE
- To obtain legal heir certificate, a person needs to approach the tehsildar or taluk office. In order to obtain succession certificate, an individual needs to approach the civil court.
- The legal heir certificate is obtained to claim the employee benefits, access to the deceased’s bank accounts, property, insurance policies, shares or debts. The succession certificate is obtained to gain the power and making financial decisions on behalf of the deceased.
- The legal heir certificate helps to establish relationship between the individual and the deceased person. The succession certificate helps to settle any case of the disputed property.
- The legal heir certificate is considered in all types of property whether moveable or immovable. The succession certificate is considered only in movable properties.
- The legal heir certificate can be issued in 15-30 days after the application has been made. The succession certificate takes at least 45 days.
- The fees for legal heir certificate and the stamp paper’s price are Rs. 20 for the certificate and Rs. 2 for the stamp paper. The fees for succession certificate are 3% of the entire property’s total value.
- Persons eligible to apply for legal heir certificate are: spouse, children, and the parents of the deceased. Only the official legal heir can apply for the succession certificate.
- The holder of the legal heir certificate cannot act as the beneficiary of the deceased person’s property. Any decision taken by the person who’s holding the succession certificate on behalf of the deceased person is legal.
The legal heir certificate is quite helpful for the people where the deceased person fails to make a will. The legal heirs of the deceased person can make an application for the legal heir certificate in the respective area’s tehsildar’s office or corporation/municipality office or the district civil court with the help of a lawyer.
The legal heir certificate can be more of a help to the families where the only earning person of the family dies. The legal heirs of the deceased person can claim for his insurance policy, which can be of great help for the surviving legal heirs and the pension of the deceased person, along with properties, access to bank accounts, shares and debts of the deceased as well.
In some cases, where the deceased is a government employee, then his legal heirs can apply for compassionate job too. In such situations, there are other things to consider like the educational qualification of the legal heir of the deceased, whether the legal heir is fulfilling the age criteria for such job and also, if the legal heir of the deceased person is having any criminal record, in which case such legal heir won’t be eligible for the job. The Government can decline the compassionate appointment if the applicant is involved in any kind of previous case and was held guilty or the case is still going on. When the legal heir is applying for the job, there should be vacancy for the job too. If there is no vacancy, then the application gets rejected at that point of time.
Legal heir certificate plays a vital role when it comes to a person dying intestate.
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