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My query is regarding an FD claim. My mother is a legal heir of her brother’s property who died childless. Now I want to know whether the bank transfers FD on the basis of a legal heir certificate issued by the court or on the one obtained from the DM (District Magistrate) office can also help to claim FD or other savings. For legal heir, savings claims using a certificate issued by DM or tehsildar is a shortcut compared to the one in courts, so please help me to know if the bank will accept a certificate by DM.

Based upon the limited facts narrated, we primarily assume that the deceased person is governed by the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 (“Act") and there are no Class-I heirs alive as on date and your mother falls in the second entry in Class-II Legal Heirs, so as to directly make your mother a legal heir of her brother’s (deceased’s) property.

We further assume that the deceased has died intestate (i.e. without making a Will), wherein the surviving legal heir(s) of the deceased as mentioned above have to either obtain a Succession Certificate and/or the Letters of Administration from the Competent Court under the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 read with the Indian Succession Act, 1925.

There is a distinction between the legal heir certificate issued by District Magistrate / Tehsildar and the Succession Certificate/ Letters of Administration issued by a Competent Court. The legal heir certificate issued by DM is limited to the extent of only identifying / recognising / certifying the names of legal heirs of the deceased person. However, the Succession Certificate and/or the Letters of Administration issued by the Competent Court, under the provisions of Indian Succession Act, 1925, in addition to identification of the legal heirs, entitles and authorises them to inherit the debts, securities, and/or administer the property (movable as well as immovable) of deceased person. Most banks accept the Succession Certificate/ Letters of Administration issued by a Competent Court as opposed to the certificate issued by a DM/ Tehsildar. You may seek clarification from the concerned Bank.

The query was answered by Aradhana Bhansali, partner, Rajani Associates. Queries and views at mintmoney@livemint.com

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