Succession certificate is a document issued by a civil court certifying a person to be the successor of a deceased person.
In the absence of a will, a succession certificate is the primary document through which the heirs can stake a claim to the assets of a deceased relative.
A succession certificate is valid throughout India.
Courts levy a fixed percentage of the value of the estate as a court fee for issuance of the certificate.
It takes about 5 to 7 months to get a succession certificate.
The main purpose of this certificate is to provide protection to all parties paying debts where such payments are made in good faith. The certificate holder is also empowered to receive any interest/dividend on the securities and negotiate or transfer such securities as mentioned in the certificate. Thus all payments made to and by the certificate holder on behalf of the deceased person will be legally valid.
However, this does not necessarily mean that the certificate holder is the owner of the securities or the legal heir. The legal heir/heirs are determined by a separate procedure of law.