Probate of Will and Succession Certificate, both granted by the competent Courts, are of absolute necessity and recommended, especially in the scenario when a deceased person’s estate needs to be distributed by way of Will or by way of Natural Succession. Probate is granted when the deceased person has left a Will. However, the Succession Certificate is granted in both cases, with or without Will.
Requirement of Probate of Will:
Getting the Will probated after the death of the testator, i.e. the person who has written the Will, should be the foremost step that should be taken by the Executor of the Will as it holds utmost importance under many scenarios. Probate of the Will signifies the authenticity and genuinity of the Will made by the testator during his lifetime. In other words, Probate of Will is only a certificate granted by the Court of competent jurisdiction certifying that the Will of the deceased is genuine and valid. In the Will, an Executor is appointed responsible for probating the Will and then distributing and managing the assets as per the testator’s wishes as mentioned in the Will.
If a person is an NRI or an Indian Expat and dies leaving behind a Will abroad bequeathing his movable assets in India favouring his legal heirs, the said Will has to be probated in the said country where the NRI or the Indian Expat lived before his death. Only after the Probation of his/her Will from the Probate Court, the said Will is applicable in India. The beneficiaries can claim the financial assets based on the Will made abroad. A Will that has not been probated abroad has no legal sanctity in India.
Recommended reading: Procedure for applying and documents required for probate of Will in the court.
Probate is legitimate evidence of delegate title and holds great sanctity. There are some cases where the testator had made more than one Wills, or one beneficiary does not admit the existence of Will and may challenge its authenticity. In such circumstances, the Executor of the Will is required to apply for Probate of Will to ascertain Will’s validity and vesting rights in favour of beneficiaries named in the Will. Many of the future works such as Mutation i.e. name of change in the records of the concerned authority, etc. requires getting the Will probated.
Requirement of Succession Certificate:
The Petition for Grant of Succession Certificate can be filed in both cases, with or without the Will. When a person dies intestate, i.e. without making any Will, his legal representatives have to approach the Competent Court for claiming the financial/ movable assets left by the deceased. In simple words, legal heirs can establish a claim over financial/ movable assets like bank deposits, Fixed Deposits, Provident Funds, equity shares, loans, insurance policies or LIC or any other security after obtaining the Succession Certificate from the competent court. The Succession Certificate acts as an assurance of title that helps recover assets and debts due toward the person who is no more and accordingly shields the deceased moneylender from the financial loss.
The individual in whose favour the Succession Certificate is granted can get interest or profits on the movable properties and also receives the right to deal with the same in any manner. The Succession Certificate also implies that its holder now has complete hold over the movable assets of the deceased.
The Succession Certificate is an essential proof of title/ authority, when a person doesn’t make a will, and he/she pass away. Through a succession certificate, the successors of that person can claim their right on the financial/ movable assets.
As far as the jurisdiction is concerned, the District Judge is empowered to grant the Succession Certificate under whose jurisdiction the person who expired had ordinarily resided. In the absence of permanent residence of the deceased, the Succession Certificate can be filed in the jurisdiction of the District Judge where any property belonging to the deceased may be found.
In the Succession certificate, information regarding the person’s death, his/ her surviving representatives who are entitled to claim the movable assets, list of securities, debt, and assets are mentioned. This connotes that the Certificate holder has acquired legitimate authority over the movable assets of the deceased. The Succession certificate is valid and applicable throughout the country. The Court should duly stamp the Certificate for its use and applicability.
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