What is a Legal Heir Certificate? A Simple Guide

by Godrej Properties Limited



If an individual passes away without a will (intestate), the rightful heirs must obtain a legal heir certificate or a surviving member certificate from the authorities. This documentation is essential to establish their status as legitimate successors to the deceased individual. It helps transfer the deceased person's assets to their heirs, including real estate, pension funds, mutual funds, insurance, fixed deposits, and other assets.

A surviving member certificate and a legal heir certificate are used interchangeably. The legal heir certificate establishes the rightful heirs of a deceased person, whereas a surviving member certificate confirms an individual's survival as an heir after the person's death.Both are utilised to establish the connection between the deceased individual and their rightful heirs, facilitating the seamless transfer of assets.

Importance of Legal Heir Certificate

Having a Legal Heir Certificate is essential for several reasons:

  • Inheritance and Property Rights: The certificate is required to claim ownership of assets, properties, and bank accounts left behind by the deceased.
  • Settling Debts and Liabilities: It enables the heirs to settle any outstanding debts or liabilities of the deceased.
  • Family Pension and Insurance Claims: To claim family pension, gratuity, or insurance benefits, a Legal Heir Certificate is often mandatory.
  • Legal Proceedings: In case of disputes or legal proceedings, the certificate acts as valid evidence of the heirs' rightful claim.

The Necessary Steps for A Legal Heir Certificate

Acquiring a Legal Heir Certificate involves working on a Legal Heir Form. Therefore, this is an essential step in the overall application process. Here are the steps enlisted for completing the form: 

  • Personal Information: Initiate the process by furnishing essential personal particulars, such as name, age, and address.
  • Relationship with the Deceased: Clearly express your association with the deceased individual to establish your eligibility as a legal heir.
  • Details of the Deceased: Provide accurate information about the deceased person, including their name, date of demise, and place of passing.
  • List of Heirs: Enlist the names and other relevant information of every heir applying for the certificate.
  • Witnesses: Have a separate list of witnesses who can verify information present in the form.
  • Signatures: Please put your signature on the form. Other applicants and witnesses must provide signatures on the form.

The legal heir form must get correctly filled out. Flawed forms can result in delays or complications in obtaining the certificate. Make sure to review and proofread the document carefully before submitting it. 

Conclusion: Claiming Rights by Legal Heir Certificate

A legal heir certificate can simplify the asset and property transfer process by multi-folds. It acts as a legal document validating the legal rights of the successor. Following the procedure correctly and getting a legal heir certificate is essential to avoid potential legal complexities. 


Q: Explain the Legal Heir Certificate meaning.

A: A Legal Heir Certificate is a legal document that establishes the rightful successors of a deceased individual and enables the smooth transfer of assets and properties.

Q: Can the Legal Heir Certificate be obtained for movable assets?

A: The certificate can be obtained for movable and immovable assets.

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