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Legal Heir Certificate

Updated on: May 5th, 2023


12 min read

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A legal heir certificate is an important document upon the death of a family member. It establishes the relationship between the deceased person and his/her legal heirs. Legal heirs of a deceased person are spouse, children and parents. The legal heirs must apply and obtain the legal heir certificate to transfer the ownership of assets of the deceased person to themselves. A legal heir certificate can be obtained after the death certificate is obtained from the municipality/corporation to claim their right over the deceased person’s properties and dues. 

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.

A 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 the 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 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. In such cases, it is required that all legal heirs sign 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

A legal heir certificate can be obtained by approaching the area/taluk Thasildhar or from the corporation/municipality office of the respective area and 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 is stated below:

  • The legitimate heir of the deceased person must approach the district court in the respective area and ask for the legal heir certificate application. The applicant must fill out 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 the family members’ addresses.
  • All the required documents, including the departed person’s death certificate, should be attached to the application. (Death certificate must be obtained from the municipality/corporation office).
  • An affidavit on stamp paper or self-declaration must be submitted along with the application.
  • The 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 approach the Revenue Division Officer (RDO)/sub-collector.

Documents Required For Obtaining a Legal Heir Certificate

To obtain a legal heir certificate, the 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

If the deceased person is a government servant, then the legal heir certificate is issued for approval of family pension or to get appointments on concerned grounds. A legal heir certificate is also provided to transfer property- movable and immovable assets.

  • A succession certificate is required when someone inherits any immovable property or movable property under the various Property Laws in the country. Most of these issues come under the Hindu Succession Act. While some of them come under the community acts or the Indian Succession Act. Issues need to be known in the right perspective for both categories.
  • Tahsildar of the district issues legal heir certificates to identify a particular deceased person living heirs, and the court issues succession certificates to the legal heirs of a deceased person.
  • For the succession certificate, 3% of the total value of the property will be charged. To issue a legal heir certificate, Rs.2 for a stamp and Rs.20 for stamp paper for the affidavit will be required.
  • Legal heir certificate and succession certificate are entirely different. If the head or a family member passes away, the next direct legal heir of the deceased such as wife/husband/son/daughter/mother can apply for the Succession Certificate. This certificate can transfer electricity connection, telephone connection/patta transfer, house tax, bank account, filing of IT returns, etc.

How to Add a Legal Heir to File ITR?

On behalf of the deceased proprietor, their legal heir/s must file an ITR and pay the computed income tax. The following are the steps to take:

  • Go to the income tax e-filing website.
  • Log in with your account information if you are a registered user. If not, choose the ‘Register Yourself’ option to establish a new account. Complete the registration procedure by providing all required information.
  • After successfully logging in and registering as a representative, go to’ My Account’.
  • Under the request type option, select a new request from the drop-down box.
  • Select register yourself from the drop-down box in the add/register as a representative section on behalf of another individual.
  • Select the deceased’s estate from the drop-down box in the category to register section.
  • You will be routed to an external page if you select the proceed option.
  • Provide all relevant information, such as the deceased’s PAN, the name of the estate, and the deceased’s date of incorporation.
  • Make a zip file with documents such as a self-attested copy of the legal heir’s PAN card, the deceased person’s PAN card, a copy of the death certificate, the legal heir certificate, or an affidavit in the presence of a Notary Public.
  • After uploading your papers, click the submit button to send your request to the e-Filing Administrator.

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 out 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.

How many days are required to get a legal heir certificate?

It may take around 15 days to 30 days to get a legal heir certificate.

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 deceased’s grandchildren 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.

Who can apply for a death certificate?

A death can be disclosed and recorded by the head of the household if it occurs in residence; by the medical in-charge if it occurs in a hospital; by the jail in-charge if it occurs in jail; and by the village headman or the in-charge of the local police station if the body is discovered deserted in that area.

I lost my legal heir certificate. How can I get a copy?

Make sure you have a death certificate. Go to the authority that issued the certificate, give them details of the deceased, the date of issuing the legal heir certificate, and they will provide a duplicate certificate. A minimum fee will be applicable.

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 deceased’s wife and legal heir. 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 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 deceased parent’s property rights and thus are legal heirs of the deceased person.

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

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. It 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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