My parents passed away recently and I stay with my elder sister who is unmarried. Do we require a succession certificate to transfer the properties left by our parents in our name? How do we go about it?
We are assuming that your parents passed away intestate (without executing a will) and your family is governed by the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, and that you and your sister are the only persons legally entitled to inherit the properties of your parents.
In that case, as per the provisions of the Act, the properties will devolve equally upon you and your sister and vest in both of you at the time of your parents’ death.
However, in order to administer and deal with the properties in question you will need either a succession certificate or letters of administration. As per the provisions of the Act and as established by various courts, a succession certificate when granted gives the grantee (the person the certificate is granted to) authority to recover the debt due to the deceased without any risks and a payment made to such grantee is a good discharge of debt. Such a certificate does not establish the title of the grantee as the heir of the deceased or give any general power of administration of the estate of the deceased.
Therefore, a succession certificate is normally applied for and granted only in respect of debts and securities. Thus, applying for the same would not be advisable if the properties left by your parents include any property apart from debts or securities.
As per the Act, letters of administration entitle the administrator to all rights belonging to the intestate and establishes the same. The administrator of the deceased, who derives his title from the letters of administration granted to him, is the legal representative of the deceased for all purposes and all the property of the deceased person vests in him as such.
It may be noted that as you and your sister are Hindus, as per the provisions of the Act, obtaining letters of administration is not obligatory; however, it is advisable to obtain the same. You or your sister or both of you are entitled to apply for and obtain letters of administration in respect of the property belonging to your parents as you will inherit the same.
Shabnum Kajiji is partner, Wadia Ghandy & Co. Advocates, Solicitors and Notaries
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