Who is a legal heir?
A legal heir is a person, male/female who is entitled to succeed the property of a person who has died intestate or without leaving behind a will. The entire inheritance of the deceased person goes to legal heirs. These heirs are either the spouse, children, parents or close (blood relatives) of the deceased.
Legal heirs can be divided in two segments:-
- Class I heirs( the widow, children and mother)
- Class II heirs( father, grandchildren, great grandchildren, siblings, extended relatives)
The above division is solely based on Hindu Succession law where the deceased is a male family member. Similarly, Muslim law and other laws have different criteria’s.
What is a legal heir certificate?
It is a very important document to establish the relationship between the deceased person and his legal heirs. When there is a sudden demise of a family member, a legal heir certificate is an important document used to verify the relationship between the deceased and his legal heirs. It further helps in transferring the assets of the deceased to his/ her legal heirs.
Once the death certificate is received from the municipality or the corporation, it is required by all the successors to apply for the legal heir certificate in order to claim their right over the deceased person’s property.
Who can be legal heirs?
- Spouse of the deceased
- Children of the deceased
- Parents of the deceased
- Siblings of the deceased
Why is it necessary?
- The certificate identifies the rightful heir of the deceased.
- To transfer the property to the rightful successor.
- To claim insurance.
- To receive family pension (spouse).
- To receive dues like gratuity and provident fund from the government.
- To receive salary arrears if the deceased was a state/ central government employee.
- To gain employment based on compassionate appointments (spouse/ children).
- To sell, purchase or register properties.
How to obtain a legal heir certificate?
The legal heirs have to:-
- Approach the area/taluk tehsildar, city corporation/municipality or district civil court.
- Submit a signed application encompassing all the legal heirs’ details(their relationship with the deceased, their addresses etc.)
- Attach the death certificate to the application
- Submit an affidavit on a stamp paper
- Following this, the revenue inspector/ administrative officer will conduct enquiry
- If satisfied, legal heir certificate will be issued by an authorized officer within 30 days.
In case of an unnecessary delay in receiving the certificate or the authorities fail to respond, the legal heirs can approach the Revenue Division Officer/Sub-Collector.
Documents required to acquire legal heir certificate.
- Signed application form
- Identity and address proof of the applicant( Aadhar card and gas bill/ telephone bill/ bank passbook)
- Death certificate of the deceased
- Proof of date of birth of all the legal heirs(birth certificate/ PAN card/ passport)
- Self-undertaking affidavit
- Address proof of the deceased.
About the author –
This article has been written by Adv. Irika G. Jyoti, Completed LL.B from National Law University, Jodhpur.