What is a Legal Heir Certificate?


To move the departed’s assets for their lawful heir(s) in case of their untimely demise, a legal heir certificate should be gotten. A legal heir certificate is profoundly fundamental for demonstrating the association between the individual who asserts the claim and their lawful beneficiary or beneficiaries. The successors can apply for this certificate to affirm their case against the departed individual’s resources and debts whenever they have obtained the death certificate from the municipality or corporation. The application structure should list all expected legitimate beneficiaries, and just a single lawful successor might demand the declaration. This certificate is usually made and enrolled under the guidance of advocates.

A male or female who is lawfully permitted to acquire a decedent’s property through a will or as per the laws of progression is supposed to be the decedent’s “legal heir.”

In the case of Hindu males

A Hindu male’s resources would be distributed essentially to those in Class I if he passed on without leaving a will. In the event that there are no Class I recipients, the resources will go to Class II recipients. Agnates will get the property before Class I or Class II beneficiaries, and it is not to be accepted there. It will go to cognates, assuming no agnates are accessible. Likewise, on the off chance that there are no cognates, the resources would be passed to the public authority. The following are the specifics:

Heirs belonging to Class I

  1. Son or daughter, 
  2. Widow, 
  3. Mother, 
  4. Son or daughter of a pre-deceased son, 
  5. Son or daughter of a pre-deceased son or daughter of a pre-deceased son, 
  6. Son or daughter of a pre-deceased daughter,
  7. Widow of a son who passed away before her
  8. Widow of a predeceased son of a predeceased son

Every child, whether a son or a daughter—the law makes no distinctions in this regard—takes an equal distribution, and so do the widow(s), mother, and each widow (s). In the event that one or more of these sons or daughters pass away, the Class 1 heirs in that branch will all come together and split the inheritance equally amongst themselves in their place.

Heirs belonging to Class II

  1. Father
  2. (i) A son’s son 

(ii) A daughter’s daughter 

(iii) A brother 

(iv) A sister

  1. (i) Daughter’s son’s son, 

(ii) Daughter’s son’s daughter, 

(iii) Daughter’s daughter’s son, 

(iv) Daughter’s daughter’s daughter, and 

(iv) Daughter’s daughter’s daughter.

  1.  (i) The brother’s son, 

(ii) The sister’s son, 

(iii) The brother’s daughter, 

(iv) The sister’s daughter.

  1. (i) Father’s father 

(ii)  Mother of the father

  1. (i) The widow of the father and

(ii) Widow of the brother.

  1. (i) The sister of father and 

(ii) Brother of the father.

  1. (i) The mother’s sister and

(ii) Mother’s father.

  1. (i) The sister of the mother and 

(ii) Brother of the mother.

If no Class-I beneficiaries are available, Class-II beneficiaries are taken into consideration. Regardless of the beneficiaries listed in the subsequent entries who are not mentioned first, the beneficiaries listed in Class II receive the assets at the same time. The second person on the rundown, for instance, “(1) son of son’s daughter, (2) daughter of son’s daughter, (3) brother, (4) sister,” will receive the assets in equal parts, assuming the heirs are all present if the father passes away. In any case, the assets will be divided equally among those who are still alive.

In the case of Hindu females

The assets of a female Hindu who passes away intestate will be distributed as follows: 

  1. First, it will go to the husband, sons, and daughters (including that of any pre-deceased sons or daughters); 
  2. Next, it will go to the husband’s heirs; 
  3. Third, it will go to the mother and father; 
  4. Fourth, it will go to the father’s heirs; and 
  5. Last, it will go to the mother’s heirs.

The following are the sharers:

  1. Husband,
  2. Wife, 
  3. Daughter,
  4. Daughter of a son (or a son, and so forth),
  5. Father,
  6. Paternal grandfather,
  7. Mother, 
  8. Grandmother on the linage, 
  9. Full Sister 
  10. Consanguine Sister 
  11. Uterine Sister, and 
  12. Uterine Brother.
  1. Wife (Widow) 
  2. Daughter 
  3. Son
  4. Father 
  5. Mother 
  6. Brother 
  7. Sister

No one will receive equal shares with direct relation under the third degree of kinship if a person has passed away without leaving a will and only his great-grandfather, an uncle, and a nephew are left. Examples of direct bloodlines include a son and his father, a grandfather and great-grandfather, and a grandson and his great-grandfather.

If a departed individual is succeeded by a widow and kids, 33% of the assets will go to the widow, and the excess 66% will be split between their recipients.

If departed individual leaves behind a widow with no son or daughter or grandchildren, then, at that point, the widow will get half of the bequest, and the other half would go to his family. The widow will get the whole estate in the absence of any children, grandchildren, or relatives.

If a departed person is succeeded by a widow and children, one-third of the property will go to the widow, and the remainder, that is, two-thirds, will be divided among his or her beneficiaries.

If a deceased person leaves behind a widow but no children or grandchildren, then the widow will receive half of the estate, and the other half would go to his kin. The widow will receive the entire property in the absence of any relatives and any children or grandchildren.

The property is shared evenly between the living children or grandchildren of a departed person’s wife if she has already passed away but is still alive and has children.

Assuming that the departed individual’s dad is still alive, every one of the resources will go to him rather than the other close family members. When other close family members, like kin, nieces, and nephews, are additionally departed, and the mother of the departed individual is as yet alive, but the father isn’t, she will get the whole bequest. This multitude of close family members, alongside the mother, share similarly in the property on the off chance that the departed individual’s father has expired, but his mother is as yet alive, and on the off chance that there are some other living close family members, like siblings, sisters, nieces, and nephews.

  1. Father
  2. Mother
  3. Full brother
  4. Full sister
  5. Paternal grandparents
  6. Maternal grandparents
  7. Both the lineal descendants and the offspring of maternal grandparents
  8. Grandparents’ lineal descendants and their offspring
  9. grandparents’ parents on the father’s side
  10. grandparents’ parents on the maternal side
  11. Grandparents’ offspring and lineal descendants of paternal grandparents
  12. Those born to and directly descended from their maternal grandparents’ parents

A legal heir certificate supports finding the genuine successor who has the legitimate right to acquire the departed individual’s resources and property. To have a special interest in the decedent’s property, all qualified heirs should be in control of this endorsement.

The accompanying measures require a legal heir certificate:

  1. Property and resource movement.
  2. A case for protection.
  3. Guarantee for benefits.
  4. Gather government commitments from you, like fortunate assets and tips.
  5. The departed state or government worker’s neglected compensation obligations are paid out.
  6. to be employed utilizing arrangements that are humane.
  7. A legitimate successor endorsement ought to be mentioned in any circumstance, including the purchase or enlistment of land by the purchaser to affirm the property’s possession.

At the district civil court, the municipal office for that region, and the regional Tahsildar, legal heir certificates are accessible. For a legal heir certificate, you should stick to the means illustrated below:

  1. The candidate needs to go to the tehsildar’s office and request the Legal Heir Certificate from the taluk office. Furthermore, they had the option of hiring an advocate to move toward the District Civil Court and get the document.
  2. The candidate needs to acquire an application structure from the Tehsildar official in control, complete it with all essential details, and just add any vital reports.
  3. With a stamp costing ₹2, the candidate must stamp the application form.
  4. The application shall be submitted to a competent authority at the Tehsildar office post the completion of this.
  5. The Village Administrative Officer and Revenue Inspector then check the application to make sure all of the details and supporting documentation are credible.
  6. After all verification procedures have been carried out, the appropriate authority will then issue the certificate, which will contain a list of all the legal heirs of the decedent.
  7. Most of the time, it takes 30 days to get a legal heir certificate. You may still get in touch with the Revenue Division Officer (RDO) or the sub-collector if there is an excessive delay or the relevant authorities fail to answer.

Visit the official website of the respective states (the relevant E-district portal) and follow these instructions to obtain the legal heirship certificate digitally:

  1. “Apply Online” can be found on the homepage.
  2. Undertake the form by following the instructions given.
  3. Your application will be processed according to guidelines by the department concerned.
  4. At last, upload all the necessary supporting documentation, ranging from identity and address verification.
  5. Click on the “Save” option to send the application successfully.
  6. Use the “Online Payment” option to complete the payment of the application fees.
  7. Online viewing of the legal heir certificate is available to applicants after a successful transaction.
  8. On the website, you can also download the certificate.

Some of the e-district portals are mentioned below:


Uttar Pradesh

Tamil Nadu




The Revenue Officer,

(Your district’s name)

Respected Sir/Ma’am,

Subject: Issuance of the legal heir certificate.

I R/o________ H. No.___________

I am the legal heir of the departed person who passed away on ___.

The subsequent members of the family are the legal heirs of Shri/Shrimati’s late _____.

Serial No.Name of the membersRelationship with the departed personAge

I kindly request that the appropriate authorities issue us the legal heir certificate as quickly as possible.

Thanks and regards.

Yours sincerely,

(Your signature)

(Applicant’s name)


  1. Affidavit
  2. Death certificate
  3. If the deceased person worked, a copy of their service certificate.

It usually takes up to 2 months to get a legal heir certificate once the application for the same has been submitted. 

Yes, you can get a duplicate copy of the legal heir certificate.

  • To obtain it, one may visit either the taluk office or the revenue division. 
  • Bring the death certificate along with the recently referenced reports. 
  • Give the details related to the departed, the date the legal heir certificate was conceded, and the expense of getting a duplicate certificate. 
  • You will be given the certificate by the authorities.

The fee is very nominal, along with a ₹2 stamp on the application. It only costs Rs. 15 to seek a legal heir certificate, and there is no minimum amount required. The cost of a legal heir certificate and unofficial requests for money will be an additional charge equal to about 3% of the overall value of the property.

The legal heirs of a deceased person who does not have a child, spouse, or parents are the ones mentioned after the spouse, children, and parents. If the deceased has nobody, then his assets go to the government. 

Yes, once you obtain a legal heir certificate, you can sell the property. 

No, you cannot change the details in the legal heir certificate online. Section 152 of the Civil Procedure Code allows you to request a court order for corrections.

The procedure to do it by visiting Taluka is as follows:

  1. If you want to use the legal heir certificate, you must apply to the Taluk office.
  2. Once the changes have been made, you must give them a document proving it.
  3. A new, accurate certificate of legal heirship can be issued if you present your original copy.
  1. Log in to the e-Filing portal 
  2. Click the “My Account” link in the menu bar on the page’s upper left corner. 
  3. Press “Register as Representative” Select “Deceased (Legal Heir)” as the “Category to Register” and “Request Type” as “New Request” > Click “Proceed.”

Don’t forget to include these details:

  • The PAN of the departed.
  • The deceased’s last name.
  • Deceased’s middle name.
  • The deceased’s given name.
  • Date of death.
  • Account information for the legal heir

Note: If the date of death entered falls within a time frame for which the deadline for filing returns has passed under Section 139, the user should choose the “Reason for Registration.”

The required documents should be attached in accordance with the relevant hyperlink:

  • a duplicate of the deceased’s PAN card.
  • the legal heir’s PAN card in copy form.
  • duplicate of a death certificate.
  • from the following list, a copy of the legal heir proof:
  • A certificate of legal heirship issued by a court of law or the local revenue authority.
  • The Local Revenue Authority has issued a survivor family member certificate.
  • Central or state governments issue certificates for family pensions.
  • A formally signed will.
  • A letter citing the information of the nominee or joint account owner to the account of the deceased at the time of the death was issued by the banking or financial institution on their letterhead, with their official seal and signature.
  • Copy of the decision entered in the decedent’s name (required unless the reason for registration is “filing of an appeal against a judgement entered in the decedent’s name”).
  • Copy of the order or notice (only required if the registration is being done so to file a return of income or form for the time the deceased was alive through a condonation requirement, or to comply with an order or notice obtained from the Income Tax Department in the applicant’s name on behalf of a departed).
  1. Submit by clicking. After submitting the request to “Register as Legal Heir,” a success message will appear on the screen.

The legal heir certificate and the succession certificate are similar in various aspects, but they are also dissimilar when it comes to the following aspects:

A succession certificate gives the recipients the authority to inherit the deceased’s debts, assets, and other resources, while a legal heir certificate recognizes the alive recipients of a deceased person.

A Tehsildar or Taluk Office can issue a certificate proving legal heirship. However, a civil court or high court can issue a certificate proving succession.

A succession certificate can be procured in as little as 7-8 months, compared to a maximum of 30 days for a legal heir certificate.

Identifying living heirs and securing suitable pension or tax benefits are the two purposes for which a legal heir certificate is relevant. Contrarily, a succession certificate’s importance is tied to issues with property transfer.

How to get a succession certificate?

If the deceased person had no specified place of residence at the time of death, the District Judge whose jurisdiction any portion of the deceased person’s property may be found may be petitioned for a succession certificate.

The information below must be included in a petition for a succession certificate:

  1. Time of death; 
  2. Place of residence or specifics of the decedent’s property at the time of death within the Judge’s jurisdiction;
  3. The rights of the petitioner; 
  4. Information about family or other close relatives; 
  5. The absence of any obstacles to the certificate’s grant; 
  6. The details of the petitioner’s family or other close relatives;

The District Judge may grant a chance for a hearing to those who, in his/her opinion, should be heard after receiving a petition if the District Judge is satisfied with the basis for the petition. The judge has the authority to rule on the petitioner’s eligibility for a succession certificate following a hearing with all parties. Following that, the judge would issue a certificate authorizing the holder to receive interest or dividends, negotiate or transfer securities, or do both. The certificate would also stipulate the debts and securities listed in the application.

Landmark Judgements

In the case of Vandana Bhimrao Jadhav v. Inhabitant of Mumbai, 2013, the respondent filed a petition for the granting of a legal heirship certificate. He omitted to include the names of the other petitioners nos. 2 to 4 as the deceased’s legal heirs. The court, in this case, holding that a legal heirship certificate issued by this court in Petition No. 91 of 2009 in favor of the respondent according to section 2 of the Bombay Regulation VIII of 1827, is therefore entitled to include the names of the petitioners.

In the case of Abdul Matin v. Abdul Azeez Gau, 1990, it was held that, according to the law, if one of the two sisters who had obtained their father’s property passed away having left only a son and the other passed away later with only her husband left alone, half of the latter’s estate would go to her husband and the other half would go to her sister’s son as uterine heirs.

Due to patriarchal traditions, women from Kerala’s Syrian Christian community were barred from inheriting property. In the case of Miss Mary v. the State of Kerala, 1986, Mary Roy, a feminist activist, and educator challenged the decree. When her father died, she filed a lawsuit against her elder brother because she was refused an equal share of the family inheritance. 

Even though the lower court rejected the plea, the Kerala High Court quashed the previous decision. The Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in 1986, allowing Syrian Christian women to seek an equal share of their father’s property.

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