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Legal Heir Certificate

Updated on :  

08 min read.

In case of a sudden demise of a family member, a legal heir certificate must be obtained for transferring the assets of the deceased to his/her legal heirs. A legal heir certificate is a very important document to establish the relationship between the deceased and legal heirs. Once the death certificate is obtained from the municipality/corporation, the successors can apply for this legal heir certificate to claim their right over the deceased person’s properties and dues. Usually, lawyers help draft and register a legal heir certificate. 

Legal Heir Certificate – Sample format

Uses of a Legal Heir Certificate

A legal heir certificate identifies the rightful successor who then can claim the assets/properties of the deceased person. All eligible successors must possess this certificate to lay a claim over the deceased person’s property.

Legal heir certificate is required for the following purpose

  • For transferring properties and assets of the demised person to his successors.
  • For claiming insurance.
  • For sanctioning and processing family pension of the deceased employee.
  • To receive dues such as provident fund, gratuity, etc. from the government
  • To receive salary arrears of the deceased, state or central government employee.
  • To gain employment based on compassionate appointments. 

Generally, for any property purchase or registration, the buyer should request for a legal heir certificate to ascertain the ownership of the property. There can be instances, where there are several legal heirs for an ancestral property and in such cases, it is required that all legal heirs sign on the deed of conveyance giving their approval to avoid any litigations.

Who Can Apply For A Legal Heir Certificate

The following persons are considered legal heirs and can claim a legal heir certificate under the Indian Law:

  • Spouse of the deceased.
  • Children of the deceased (son/ daughter).
  • Parents of the deceased.

Procedure to Obtain a Legal Heir Certificate

Legal Heir certificate can be obtained by approaching the area/taluk Thasildhar, or from the corporation/municipality office of the respective area, and from the district civil court. This certificate names all legal heirs of the deceased person and is issued only after a proper enquiry. The process of obtaining a legal heir certificate are stated below:

  • The legitimate heir of the deceased person must approach the appropriate authority in the respective area and ask for the legal heir certificate application. The applicant must fill the application and submit the signed application to the concerned authority. This application contains the names of all the legal heirs, their relationship with the deceased and addresses of the family members.
  • All the required documents including the death certificate of the departed person should be attached to the application. (Death certificate must be obtained from the municipality/corporation office).
  • An affidavit on stamp paper or self declaration has to be submitted along with the application.
  • Revenue Inspector/administrative officer conducts an inspection and completes the enquiry.
  • Once the enquiry is completed successfully, the authorized officer issues the Legal heir certificate.

The process of obtaining a legal heir certificate generally takes 30 days. If there is an unnecessary delay in receiving this certificate or the concerned authorities fail to respond, you should then approach the Revenue Division Officer(RDO)/sub-collector. 

Documents Required For Obtaining a Legal Heir Certificate

In order to obtain a legal heir certificate, following is the list of documents required:

  • Signed application form.
  • Identity/Address proof of the applicant.
  • Death certificate of the deceased.
  • Date of Birth proof of all legal heirs.
  • A self-undertaking affidavit.
  • Address proof of the deceased.


  • Identity Proof of Applicant can be voter’s ID, Aadhaar Card Driving License, Passport or any other government-issued identity card.
  • Address proof of legal heir can be any valid identity proof or telephone/mobile bill, gas bill, bank passbook with the name and address of the legal heir
  • Date of birth proof of legal heir can be a birth certificate, school transfer/leaving certificate, PAN card, passport etc.

Difference Between a Legal Heir Certificate And Succession Certificate

A legal heir certificate is different from a succession certificate,  a succession certificate is generally issued by the civil court and there are separate procedures to obtain the same. Major differences between these two certificates are listed below:

  • Legal heir certificate usage is limited to certain matters such as claiming employee benefits of the deceased, insurance claims, property registration etc.
  • A legal heir certificate is not conclusive proof under the law of succession in India.
  • With respect to the settlement of any property which is disputed or under court litigation, a succession certificate is vital.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I apply for a legal heir certificate online?

Yes. You can apply for a legal heir certificate online. You can fill the form for obtaining a legal heir certificate on the e-portal of your respective district and attach the required documents. You must pay the fees online while submitting the form. The certificate can be downloaded from the e-portal when it is ready. 

Is a married daughter a legal heir?

Yes. Married and unmarried daughters are also legal heirs and have the same rights as that of the son since 2005 after the amendment of the Hindu Succession Act. Thus, married daughters are legal heirs of the deceased person.

Who is a legal heir when the deceased person does not have children, a spouse or parents?

The parents, spouse and children are the immediate legal heirs of the deceased person. When a deceased person does not have immediate legal heirs, then the grandchildren of the deceased will be the legal heirs. If there are no grandchildren, then the brothers and sisters of the deceased person will be the legal heirs who can obtain the legal heir certificate.

Is a second wife a legal heir?

Yes. If the second wife is legally married under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, she is considered the wife of the deceased and is the legal heir of the deceased. The second wife is legally married when the first marriage is dissolved through an order of divorce or the first wife is dead. However, the children from the first wife will also be considered as legal heirs of the deceased along with the children of the second wife.

Are illegitimate children legal heirs?

Yes. Illegitimate children are the children born to a man and a woman who are not married or born out of wedlock. However, illegitimate children are entitled to all the rights of the deceased parent’s property and thus are legal heirs of the deceased person.

Can a person having the legal heir certificate sell the property of the deceased person?

No. The legal heir certificate only entitles the holder of the certificate the right to claim insurance, receive dues such as provident fund, gratuity, etc. and arrears from the government. A person having the succession certificate can sell the property of the deceased. However, the person having the legal heir certificate can sell the deceased person’s property after taking the written consent and NOC (No Objection Certificate) from all the other legal heirs of the deceased.

Disclaimer: The materials provided herein are solely for information purposes. No attorney-client relationship is created when you access or use the site or the materials. The information presented on this site does not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes or used as a substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your state.

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