Succession Certificate, Letter of Administration, Probate of Will: Getting your money to your loved ones is a lengthy paperwork process that goes through various steps when you were no more to help them out. You have to prepare some documents to prove that they are the legal heir for Mutual Fund, Bank account, Demat account, PPF, Financial Institutions of that particular person. Those documents are:-
- Succession Certificate,
- Letter of Administration, and
- Probated copy of Will.
Suppose there is no nominee attached to the account, and there is no survivor left among the account holders. In that case, the Succession Certificate is the only primary option left through which the heirs can stake their claim to the money or the benefits of the left relative. (Also, there is no availability of Will)
What is a Succession Certificate?
Under the Indian Succession Act, 1925 (h), a Succession Certificate is legal terminology that gives authority to their successor who can get the benefits to the represent that deceased to collect the claims, securities, and other debts, which is payable in the name of that successor or heir.
It establishes a legitimacy that the heirs or the successor can access all the debts, securities, and other assets left behind by the deceased.
Where Can We Apply for the Application?
We can apply Succession Certificate within the legal territory in either high court or district court.
Legal territory refers to where the assets fall, where the properties of the deceased relative or predecessor are situated by filing a petition file for succession certificate. Courts, high court, and district court are part of the judiciary, but it depends on the value of the deceased’s assets that in which court the case has to be present. It is known as “Pecuniary Jurisdiction” of the court.
- In the petition, we have to give the brief detail about the petitioner or the heir:-
- What was the relationship between the heir and the deceased?
- Element of the heirs and all beneficiaries
- The time, date, and place of death (if it is accidental, then brief detail about that too)
- The death Certificate has to attach.
These are the documents that we have to submit in court.
After getting verified from the court, the court will issue the notice to the respective concern. Court gives information in a newspaper about the successor and deceased to publicly affirm that if anyone has any objection with this heir, they can raise their voice within the time frame (time frame is usually from one month to one and half months). If no one objects to the heir in that specified period, the court issues a succession certificate to the petitioner. And if there are two or more two petitioners, then the court grants them joint Certificate of Succession; they will not present more than one certificate for a single asset.
Lawyers may retain up to 3% of the value of assets, which did not include their fees. The court has fixed a 3% levy.
How Long Does It Take To Obtain the Succession Certificate from the Court?
It takes roughly three to four months from the date of filing the petition to the court. Sometimes this may take up to five to seven months also.
After receiving the Succession Certificate, is the person the rightful owner of the deceased person’s assets, securities, and other related properties?
No, this is not true. The person is not the rightful owner to spend the deceased person’s assets.
A Succession Certificate is a certificate that approves you as a nominee. We can say that the person is holding the Succession Certificate act is similar to the nominee.
Probate of Will
If there is a valid Will, then Succession Certificate is not granted; we can have a Probate of Letter of Administration is required.
Technical terms we have to familiar with before reading about “Will”:-
- Testate: Person dies leaving behind Will.
- Intestate succession: Person dies without Will.
- Testator: Person who creates Will.
- Legatee: Successor (Person inherit the property under Will).
- Codicil or Addendum: Part of Will used to add or alter the relation in Will.
- Executor: Person appointed by the tester to execute the Will. An executor is the legal representative of the deceased person.
Probate certifies Will’s authenticity, and it is a legal process taken from the court. It establishes the legal character of the person appointed by the tester to implement the Will and validate. The person appointed by the executor in the Will can grant the Probate.
When is Probate Necessary?
- Will is created by Europeans, East Indians, Armenians, Jews, Indian Christians, and Paris.
- Cases of Will are immovable property in a specific place like, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata.
- For clearing the Will, the person has to report within seven working days from the date of death by the person who has made the Will.
- For getting Probate, we need to pay some cost, which includes legal fees and stamp duty. Stamp duty varies from one state to another.
How to get Probate of a Will?
Probate is a legal copy of the Will certified by the court of competent jurisdiction. It is the lasted Will which was created by the person before deceased on a particular date. Court sends the sealed copy of the Probate. No one is appointing under the Will to administer its provisions without a Probate except for the person whose name is written in the Will. The nominee can only hold the rights to access the assets but only after receiving or obtaining the Probate.
The Probate application has to be filled to the court (pecuniary jurisdiction) with the help of a lawyer.
Documents Required for Probate of a Will
- Proof of death is the Death certificate of the Testator.
- Proof that the Testator evaluates will
- The Last Will of the Testator.
Alert or Notification
The successor has to file an objection in the notice that the court issued after receiving the petition or application for Probate; after that, the citation must be published in the newspaper for the general public.
The percentage of assets may impose by the court as a fee.
For example: In Maharastra, if assets are between Rs. 50,000 to 2 lakh, 4% of the asset will be charged as the fee for the court. If this amount exceeds two lakhs, the cost increases up to 7.5% of the total aid.
- A Probate is a must if the Will is an immovable asset in Kolkata, Mumbai, and Chennai.
- The Probate of Will is the establishment of the proof for the genuineness of Will from the death of the Testator.
- Probate is different from the Succession Certificate.
- The court issues the Probate when the person dies and has made a Will.
- If the person dies without declaring his or her legal heirs, we must apply for the Succession Certificate.
These are applicable as per the Law of Inheritance.
Letter of Administrator
What if we do not have a declared successor on Will or Will does not contain any executor? Then we need to get the Letter of Administration.
The letter is issued by the court and appoints the Administration to discard the property of the person, if:-
- The Testator has failed to specify the executor on their Will. OR
- The executor appointed under the Will doe not accept the Will or its assets.
- When the executor died before the Testator, and the Testator has not updated the Will.
A Letter of Administration has to clear within 14 days after the date of death of the Testator.
For obtaining a Letter of Administration, we have to apply to the court.
After receiving satisfactory proof from they issue a letter of Administration, The application must contain the following detail on the Letter of Administration:-
- Date of death of the Testator, with time mention on it.
- Write an appropriate last Will.
- Court Duly executed documents.
- The total amount of assets.
- Name of the petitioner and other details, like relationship with the Testator.
Only one letter of Administration to be granted to one or more than one person. This Letter of Administration is not issued in the name of any minor.
Proof of Death is generally referred to as the Death Certificate. By submitting the Certificate of Death, we can present the Death Proof of the Testator.
- If a person disappears, then according to the law, it is presumed to be that the person is dead.
- A person died in the air crash, the ship sunk, or by any other means in which the person’s body was not recovered, then the court may provide a notice which satisfies the fact of the death of that person.
- If a person killed on the battlefield while serving the country, the official notification will be provided as the Testator’s death.