Understanding the Difference Between Legal Heir Certificate and Succession Certificate

by  Adv. Praneeth GN  




5 mins


Navigating Heirship Certificates

Navigating the legalities following the demise of a loved one can be daunting, especially when it comes to understanding and obtaining essential documents like the Legal Heir Certificate and the Succession Certificate.

These certificates play a pivotal role in the legal process of transferring the deceased’s assets. This comprehensive guide aims to demystify these documents, highlighting their differences, purposes, and the processes involved in obtaining them.


In the absence of a valid Will, the distribution of a deceased person’s assets in India is governed by the Indian Succession Act, 1925. Two critical documents come into play here: the Legal Heir Certificate and the Succession Certificate. While they may seem similar, they serve different legal purposes and are obtained through distinct processes.

Confused between a Legal Heir and a Succession Certificate? Let our legal experts guide you through the right choice and process. We provide end-to-end assistance to ensure you fulfill legal requirements effortlessly. Contact us for specialized legal support.

What is a Legal Heir Certificate?

Definition and Purpose

A Legal Heir Certificate is issued to identify the rightful successors of the deceased. It is essential for transferring the deceased’s assets, including property, to their legal heirs. This certificate is particularly crucial in cases where the deceased has not nominated any beneficiaries for their assets.

Issuance and Authority

The certificate is issued by local government bodies like the Revenue Department or the Municipal Corporation. The process involves verifying the relationship between the deceased and the legal heirs.

Scope and Use

The Legal Heir Certificate is used for:

  • Claiming the deceased’s assets like bank deposits, provident fund, etc.
  • Legal and government processes, including pension transfer and property mutation.

People Also Read: How to Obtain a Legal Heir Certificate in India?

What is a Succession Certificate?

Definition and Purpose

A Succession Certificate grants the heirs the authority to inherit debts, securities, and other assets of the deceased. It is particularly relevant when the deceased has left behind debts or securities.

Issuance and Authority

This certificate is issued by a civil court and is necessary to establish the legal heirs’ claim to the deceased’s financial assets, especially in the absence of a Will.

Scope and Use

The Succession Certificate is essential for:

  • Transferring debts and securities.
  • Handling financial assets like bank account balances and stock investments.

People Also Read: How to Obtain a Succession Certificate in India?

Navigating the complexities of Legal Heir and Succession Certificates? Our experienced legal team is here to simplify the process for you. From documentation to court procedures, we handle it all. Reach out for hassle-free legal services.

Key Differences Between Legal Heir Certificate and Succession Certificate

Basis of Issuance

  • Legal Heir Certificate: Issued based on the familial relationship with the deceased.
  • Succession Certificate: Issued based on the legal right to inherit the deceased’s financial assets.


  • Legal Heir Certificate: Issued by local government bodies.
  • Succession Certificate: Issued by a civil court.

Purpose and Scope

  • Legal Heir Certificate: Used for non-financial transactions, government claims, and property matters.
  • Succession Certificate: Used primarily for financial transactions involving the deceased’s debts and securities.

Documentation and Process

  • Legal Heir Certificate: Requires proof of relationship, death certificate, and an application to the local authority.
  • Succession Certificate: Involves a legal process with the civil court, including a petition, death certificate, details of the heirs, and an advertisement in a local newspaper for objections.

Time Frame for Issuance

  • Legal Heir Certificate: Generally issued within 15-30 days.
  • Succession Certificate: This may take a few months due to the court process and the mandatory notice period for objections.
CriteriaLegal Heir CertificateSuccession Certificate
DefinitionA document issued to recognize the living heirs of a deceased person.A document granted by a court to the heirs of a deceased person, giving them the right to inherit assets.
PurposeUsed to establish the relationship of the heirs with the deceased for non-financial matters.Used to transfer the deceased’s debts and securities to the heirs.
Issuing AuthorityIssued by local government bodies like Revenue Department or Municipal Corporation.Issued by a civil court.
Scope of Use– Claiming pension, provident fund, and other benefits.
– Property mutation.
– Transfer of assets.
– Handling financial assets like bank balances, and stocks.
– Transferring debts and securities.
Required Documentation– Proof of relationship.
– Death certificate.
– Application to the local authority.
– Legal petition to the court.
– Death certificate.
– Details of the heirs.
– Advertisement for objections.
Time Frame for IssuanceGenerally issued within 15-30 days.May take several months due to the court process and mandatory notice period for objections.

Ensure the rightful transfer of assets with our legal services for Legal Heir and Succession Certificates. We specialize in making the process smooth and stress-free, safeguarding your inheritance rights. Get in touch for expert legal assistance.


Understanding the distinction between a Legal Heir Certificate and a Succession Certificate is crucial for the smooth transfer of assets and fulfilling legal obligations after a person’s demise. While the Legal Heir Certificate is more about establishing a relationship with the deceased, the Succession Certificate is about the legal right to financial assets. It’s advisable to seek legal assistance to navigate these processes efficiently.

To learn more about the specifics and application process of Succession Certificates in India, refer to our detailed blog Guide to Succession Certificates in India.

The process of obtaining a Legal Heir or Succession Certificate can be intricate and daunting. But with our expert legal assistance, it becomes straightforward and stress-free. Our team specializes in navigating these complex legal waters, ensuring you receive your rightful documentation with ease. Contact us today and take the first step towards securing your family's future with confidence and ease.

Adv. Praneeth GN

Adv. Praneeth GN


4.8 | 85+ User Reviews

Praneeth GN is a legal consultant who prioritises ethical and professional conduct. He graduated with (B.A. and LL.B) from the K.L.E. Society Law College. With more than 8 years of experience in handling legal cases independently. He has the potential to understand and explain complicated legal words in simple terms to clients.

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