Should you get a Succession Certificate or Will Probate?

Last Updated at: Nov 23, 2020
In August, 2020, the Supreme Court held that daughters would have equal coparcenary rights in HUF properties even if they were born before the 2005 amendment to the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. This will be regardless of whether their father coparcener had died before the amendment. In the judgement, the Court said that daughters will get equal share of coparcenary rights as the legal heir of a property like the son.


Death is inevitable and we all must be prepared for it. And the one thing we must all discuss after a death of a loved one is the transfer of the property. That’s why making a will before our death is important. A will allows you to communicate how your assets are to be distributed among those close to you after your death. This document ensures that your belongings do not devolve as per the laws of inheritance (which vary for each major religion) but as per your wishes. So the question arises, should you get a Succession Certificate or Will Probate?

In legal terms, probate is the legal process by which the court validates a will as the last will of a deceased testator. In simple terms, probate means a copy of certification from the court or a competent jurisdiction that a will can be transferred to a beneficiary of the will. Probate is not to be confused with a succession deed.

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When a competent court awards probate, it is considered as conclusive evidence of the legitimacy of a Will until it is repealed. Also, no evidence can be accepted to challenge it besides in a proceeding to revoke the probate.

Probate is required when a testator owns the full estate or property. It is a must in cases where there are no co-owners of the property. By law, probate is mandatory for a testator’s property to be transferred in the names of beneficiaries.

It generally takes six to nine months for the entire process to complete. This is, however, if there are no valid objections either from the public or the deceased making the will. In cases of disagreement, the time frame might extend to even two years, depending on the seriousness of the objection.


A succession certificate is issued to the legal heirs of a deceased person by a civil court. A succession certificate can be granted by the court to realize the debts and securities of the deceased if a person dies without leaving a will. It confirms the authenticity of the heirs and grants them the authority to have securities and other assets assigned in their names as well as inherit debts. It is issued as per the applicable laws of inheritance on an application made by a beneficiary to a court of competent jurisdiction. A succession certificate is essential, but not always adequate, to free the assets of the deceased. For these, a death certificate, letter of administration and no-objection certificates will be needed.

To get a succession certificate, an appeal has to made to the District Judge within whose jurisdiction the deceased person ordinarily lived at the time of his or her death or, if at that time he or she had no fixed place of residence, the District Judge within whose jurisdiction any part of the property of the deceased may be found.

So a person who dies has either made a ‘will’ or died ‘intestate’. If a person has made a ‘will,’ the ‘will’ has to be submitted for Probate after the death of the person. If a person dies ‘intestate,’ then all the legal heirs have to apply to a competent court for a ‘Succession Certificate’ so that his property can be transferred upon his successors.