legal heir certificacte

In this article, Ashwini Gehlot discusses the procedure for obtaining a Legal Heir Certificate.

Legal Heir Certificate

When the head of the family or a family member passes away then the next legal heir of that person can apply for the legal heir certificate.

This Certificate is generally required for the beneficiaries of a serving or retired employee, who passed away. If that retired person dies, family pension advantages will go to legitimate heirs. Generally, any levy to a man from government or nearby bodies will be paid to lawful heirs on the death of the individual. Such advantages to legitimate heirs might be a provident fund, pension, gratitude etc.

Legal Heir Certificate ordinarily specifies the names, ages, association with the deceased and conjugal status of all surviving family members. For getting Legal Heir Certificate, a death certificate indicating evidence of death is important. This death certificate is issued by the Major Panchayat/Municipality/Corporation/RO of Mandal where the death happened.

To know more about the how to obtain a legal heir certificate in brief, please refer to the video below:

Importance of Legal Heir Certificate

This certificate can be used for insurance claims, retirement benefit claims, pension claims and can also be used for gratuity and PF claims. Although this certificate is not legitimate in the property transfer matters where a person dies without a valid will, court litigation and also in cases of transactions with a financial institution or we can say money related establishments and banks etc. Because in these cases succession certificate (issued by civil courts by making an application) is required.

The legal heir certificate mainly used for acquiring the inheritance of the property which is left behind by the dead person.

Procedure for obtaining a Legal Heir Certificate


Husband/wife or son/daughter or mother of the deceased person can apply for legal heir certificate.


Obtaining a legal heir certificate is very easy and not much of a trouble, it is  issued by district tahsildar office for the person whose parent/husband/wife died intestate, it is issued  to build a relationship for claims related to pension, insurance, administrative/service advantages, retirement benefits of the state and central government offices, government works etc. and to get occupation like compassionate appointments.

The person who is applying for legal heir certificate has to approach the district tahsildar office with the death certificate of the deceased and have to produce a form and also  he/she have to  make an application and the person has to fill up an application form and make sure that all the information provided by the person is correct and complete and it is also required that the person lodging the application should have all the required information and necessary documents required in the process and it is also required to affix a court fee stamp (INR 2) on the application form and SC/ST are exempted from this fee.

What documents to attach along with the application

  • Name of the deceased
  • Death certificate original
  • Service certificate issued by the head of the department/office in case of serving employee
  • Ration card and Aadhar card
  • Pensioner payment slip issued by the office of accountant general in case of pensioner
  • Family members names and relationship
  • Applicant’s signature
  • Date of application
  • Residential address
  • An affidavit worth Rs 20 on a stamp paper
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After filling the form and with all the necessary details and documents the form has to be submitted to Taluk’s Tahsildar. The person can obtain the legal heir from the Taluk/Tahsildar or district civil court of his/her area.

After the submission, an inquiry will take place for the verification by the local revenue officers as well as village administrative officials. Generally, a statement by the administrative/gov employee who is known to the dead person and his/her family will be registered in the application form. After the verification, the officials will submit their report in the prescribed form.

After the due inquiry, based on the report presented by the revenue officer and village administrative officials the certificate will be issued by the competent authority in which names of all the legal heirs will be mentioned.

Duration- the whole procedure from processing the information to the certificate issuance it will take around 15-30 days.

If the certificate is not issued within a reasonable period then the person concerned can remind the tahsildar and in a case of not getting any response the person can contact the concerned RDO/sub-collector.

Difference between Legal Heir Certificate and Succession Certificate

A lot of people get confused between succession certificate and legal heir certificate most of the times they consider them similar. But just to clarify this doubt here are some major differences mentioned below.

  • As it is known from this article that legal heir certificate is issued by the Tahsildar from taluka, the succession certificate is issued by the civil court or sometimes high court.
  • In legal heir certificate the person who can apply for the certificate is son/daughter, husband/wife or parents of the deceased but in the case of applying for succession certificate, only legal heir of deceased can apply.
  • The time required for issuance of legal heir certificate is 15-30days whereas in the case of succession certificate it can take 6 or sometimes 7 months in toto.
  • Fee for the issuance of legal heir certificate is Rs 2 for stamp and Rs 20 stamp paper for affidavit and sometimes additional fee like some officials can ask for money but it will be considered as unofficial and for succession certificate 3% or more or less percentage of the total value of property and as an additional fee attorney fee will be charged.
  • No one is allowed to contest in case of legal heir certificate application and process but in the case of succession certificate, anybody can contest this application within the 45 days from the time of the application being submitted.
  • Documents required for legal heir certificate is mentioned above and in the case of succession certificate, the important documents are death certificate of the deceased date, place and time of the death, names of all legal heir and their relation with deceased.
  • As mentioned above the importance of legal heir certificate that it is used for pension, gratuity, insurance, and PF claims and for retirement benefit claims and the succession certificate is used for transfer of possession/of property, is also used for paying debts or security on behalf of deceased or collecting debts or security on behalf of deceased.

Judicial pronouncements on issuance of legal heir certificate

As we know nothing in this universe is perfect, everything has their flaws so is this, there are chances of arising disputes regarding the issuance of this certificate sometimes it can be because of corruption or delay or may be fraud etc. so here are some of the case laws of Indian judiciary regarding this particular issue as mentioned below.

Periyaswamy vs Inspector, Vigilance And … on 23 March 1999[1]

In this case, the accused i.e. revenue officer asked for Rs. 300 as a bribe for sending the inquiry report which is used for the verification of issuance of legal heir certificate. So, in this case, the appellant has sentenced the imprisonment till the rising of the court and have to pay a fine of Rs 1000.

V. Selvarani vs The Chairman on 21 March 2011[2]

Petitioner’s husband was a Lineman working under the control of the second respondent and he died in harness and intestate on 1.12.2003. Petitioner made many representations to the second respondent for compassionate appointment within 1 year from the death of deceased but her request was rejected on the ground that petitioner is the second wife as per the certificate dated 20.01.2004  and so she is not entitled to the same. Petitioner filed a suit and the court declared her as the legally wedded wife after the judgment the petitioner approached the competent authority to cancel that certificate and issue a fresh certificate after that she approached the fourth respondent for the compassionate appointment, and again her request was rejected on the ground of delay.

Since the first representation made by petitioner was within 3 years of the death of deceased and since then she was continuously pursuing her case so the next representation made by her cannot be treated as a belated application. So, the court held that the representation made by petitioner was well in time i.e. within 3 years.

Vandana Bhimrao Jadhav vs Inhabitant Of Mumbai on 22 October 2013[3]

The respondent in this particular case had not disclosed the names of the other petitioner nos. 2 to 4 as the legal heirs of the deceased when he filed a petition for issuance of legal heirship certificate. So, the court in this matter held that the petitioners are entitled to include their names in the legal heirship certificate issued by this Court in Petition No. 91 of 2009 as legal heirs issued under section 2 of the Bombay Regulation VIII of 1827 in favor of the respondent.


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[1] Periyaswamy vs Inspector, Vigilance And … on 23 March, 1999 CriLJ 2944

[2] V. Selvarani vs The Chairman on 21 March, 2011,WRIT PETITION NO.20949 OF 2009

[3] Vandana Bhimrao Jadhav vs Inhabitant Of Mumbai on 22 October, 2013, MISC. PETITION NO. 110 OF 2011 IN MISC. PETITION NO. 91 OF 2009



  1. After my father death, local body in my area officials ask me legal heir certificate for transfer of property, but in block they mention that in property cases succession certificate will be apply, as there is 3% fee as per property value, it is very unfair charges.

  2. The blog is very helpful.
    The facts of the case is, We received the death certificate and forgot to take the legal heir certificate, Now we moved to different locations and we don’t have any local residential proof, but MRO is asking local address proof of the legal heirs. Could you please suggest what is alternative

  3. Interesting article. What is the difference between legal heir certificate and surviving member certificate? Thanks in advance.

  4. Succession certificate is not for transfer of property. It is applicable only for movable property. Hence applicable to only securities and debts of the deceased person.

  5. but when the deceased is not a governmental employee, the collector’s office denies the issuance of legal heir certificate – what to do in such case when the legal heir certificate is required for filing income tax return of the deceased?

    • I too have the same question as I am in the same situation. Does anyone have an answer. The deceased was not a government employee and in Mumbai at the Tehsildar’s office they deny giving legal heir certificate to non-government employee. The HR of the company where the deceased was working (in Dubai) needs legal heir certificate to process his insurance from the company.They have given sample which is of another employee of the same company,but was issued from Tamilnadu.How is it possible to have different rules in different states.

      • I am also in the same situation. In Mumbai Tehsildar office, they deny me to provide legal heir certificate. Can anyone please suggest how can i get it. it will be really appreciated.


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