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Legal Heir

What is a Legal Heir Certificate? Who Can Apply?

Inheritance of wealth in the absence of a will of the deceased is possible. Apply for a Legal heir certificate in the district tahsildar office. This certificate helps you claim your right to the property, and assets of the deceased.


Upon a family member’s death, obtaining a legal heir certificate becomes crucial. It establishes the relationship with legal heirs such as spouse, children, and parents. These heirs need to apply for and obtain the certificate to transfer the deceased person’s assets. After obtaining the death certificate from the municipality/corporation, legal heirs can claim their rights over the properties and dues of the deceased.

Legal Heir Certificate

Legal Heirs of the Deceased

A legal heir is someone entitled by law to inherit the property of a deceased person. The order of inheritance typically follows these lines:

  1. Primary Heirs:

    • Spouse: The surviving spouse inherits a specific share of the deceased’s property, depending on the local laws and presence of other heirs.
    • Children: Biological or adopted children are entitled to equal shares of the inheritance, unless a will specifies otherwise.
    • Parents: If the deceased has no children or spouse, their parents inherit the property.
  1. Collateral Heirs:

If there are no primary heirs, inheritance may pass to collateral heirs, including:

    • Siblings: They inherit equally, unless a will dictates otherwise.
    • Grandparents: In the absence of siblings, grandparents may inherit.
    • Grandchildren: If there are no surviving parents or siblings, grandchildren may inherit.
    • Other Relatives: Depending on the specific laws and circumstances, other relatives like aunts, uncles, and cousins may be eligible for inheritance.

Who Can Apply For a Legal Heir Certificate?

In most cases, any legal heir of the deceased can apply for a legal heir certificate. This document formally establishes who the legal heirs are and their respective shares in the inheritance.

Here are some additional points to remember:

  • Some jurisdictions may have specific requirements for who can apply, such as being of legal age or residing within the jurisdiction.
  • If there is a will, the named executor may be responsible for applying for the certificate.
  • If there are disputes about who the legal heirs are, the court may need to determine the rightful heirs before issuing a certificate.

Functions of the Legal Heir Certificate

A legal heir certificate serves as a crucial document for various purposes, including:

  • Claiming inheritance rights: It provides legal proof of your entitlement to inherit the deceased’s property.
  • Obtaining property rights: Many authorities, like banks or land departments, require this certificate to transfer ownership of the deceased’s assets to the legal heirs.
  • Closing bank accounts: Banks often ask for a legal heir certificate before closing the deceased’s accounts and distributing the funds to the rightful beneficiaries.
  • Transferring investments: Similarly, investment firms may require the certificate to transfer ownership of stocks, bonds, or other investments held by the deceased.
  • Receiving insurance benefits: Insurance companies might request this document to confirm the rightful beneficiaries of life insurance policies or other payouts.
  • Settling debts: Creditors may ask for the certificate to determine who is responsible for repaying the deceased’s debts.
  • Filing tax returns: Tax authorities might require the certificate to determine who is responsible for filing the deceased’s final tax returns.

Legal Heir Certificate vs Succession Certificate

Feature Legal Heir Certificate Succession Certificate
Purpose Establishes legal heirs Grants right to inherit property
Application Applied for by legal heirs Applied for by any person with interest
Timing Can be applied for immediately Applied for after 30 days of death
Court process Usually not required Involves court proceedings
Nature of Assets Primarily for movable property Primarily for immovable property and securities
Issuing Authority Revenue officials or local bodies Civil court
Fees Generally lower Generally higher

Elements of a Legal Heir Certificate:

  1. Heading: Clearly states Legal Heir Certificate
  2. Issuing Authority: Name of the authority issuing the certificate (e.g., Revenue Department, Tehsildar, etc.)
  3. Certificate Number: Unique identification number
  4. Date of Issue: Date the certificate was issued
  5. Deceased Person’s Information:
    • Name
    • Father’s/Husband’s Name
    • Address
    • Date of Death
  6. Legal Heirs’ Information:
    • Names of all legal heirs
    • Relationship to the deceased
    • Addresses
  7. Purpose of Certificate (Optional): Specific purpose for which the certificate is issued
  8. Signature and Seal: Authorized signature and official seal of the issuing authority

Documents Required

  1. Application Form: Duly filled and signed by the applicant.
  2. Death Certificate of the Deceased: Issued by the municipal corporation or local government authority.
  3. Identity Proof of the Applicant: Aadhaar Card, Voter ID, Passport, Driving License, or any other government-issued ID card.
  4. Address Proof of the Applicant: Recent utility bill (electricity, water, gas), bank statement, or Aadhaar card.
  5. Date of Birth Proof of All Legal Heirs: Birth certificates, school leaving certificates, or Aadhaar cards.
  6. Affidavit: A self-attested affidavit stating the relationship with the deceased and that there are no other legal heirs.
  7. Residence Proof of the Deceased: Aadhaar Card, Voter ID, Passport, Driving License, or any other document showing their address.
  8. Additional Documents (if applicable):
    • Marriage Certificate (if spouse is a legal heir)
    • Non-Existence Certificate (if any primary heirs are deceased)
    • Legal Heir Certificate of any predeceased heirs

Concerned Authority

  • Revenue Department: The primary authority responsible for issuing Legal Heir Certificates.
  • Tahsildar or Taluk Office: The local revenue officer who handles applications and issues certificates.
  • Village Administrative Officer (VAO): In rural areas, the VAO may assist with the application process.

Online Application Process

Steps typically involved:

  1. Visit the Concerned Website: Access the official website of the Revenue Department or e-governance portal of your state/territory.
  2. Register or Login: Create an account or login using existing credentials.
  3. Download Form: Download the Legal Heir Certificate application form.
  4. Fill in Details: Accurately fill in all required information, including:
    • Applicant’s details
    • Deceased person’s details
    • Legal heirs’ details
    • Purpose of applying for the certificate
  5. Upload Documents: Scan and upload the required documents in clear and legible formats.
  6. Pay Fees: Pay the applicable fee online using a credit card, debit card, net banking, or other available methods.
  7. Submit Application: Submit the completed application form online.
  8. Verification: The concerned authority will verify the information and documents.
  9. Issuance of Certificate: If everything is in order, the certificate will be issued and either sent by post or made available for download online.

How to Add a Legal Heir to File ITR?

Here’s a guide on how to add a legal heir to file ITR (Income Tax Return) in India:

  1. Registration as a Legal Heir on the Income Tax Portal:
    • Log in to the Income Tax e-filing portal using the legal heir’s credentials.
    • Go to Authorised Partners and click on Register as Representative Assessee.
    • Click on Let’s Get Started and then Create New Request.
    • Select the Category of assessee to whom you want to represent as Deceased (legal heir).
    • Enter the required details of the deceased (PAN, date of birth, etc.) and upload mandatory attachments:
      • PAN card of the deceased
      • Death certificate
      • Legal heir proof (any of the following):
        • Legal Heir Certificate issued by Court/Revenue Authority
        • Surviving Family Member Certificate
        • Family Pension Certificate
        • Registered Will
        • Letter from Bank/Financial Institution mentioning nominee/joint account holder
    • Click on Proceed and Verify the Request.
  1. Generating EVC (Electronic Verification Code) for the Deceased:
    • Use the Request for EVC for Deceased option on the e-filing portal.
    • Provide the deceased’s PAN and death certificate details.
    • Enter the legal heir’s mobile number and email ID.
    • An EVC will be sent to the legal heir’s registered mobile number.
  1. Filing ITR for the Deceased:
    • Log in as the legal heir.
    • Select File Income Tax Return and choose the appropriate ITR form for the deceased.
    • Fill in the ITR form, including income details, deductions, and taxes payable.
    • Select Deceased as the filing status.
    • Enter the deceased’s PAN and date of death.
    • Acknowledge the declaration and submit the ITR.
    • Verify the ITR using the EVC generated for the deceased.


  • Due Date: The due date for filing ITR for a deceased person is the same as for a living individual, typically July 31st of the relevant assessment year.
  • Tax Payment: If any tax is payable, the legal heir can make the payment using their own PAN.
  • Pending Actions: Check for any pending actions or notices under the deceased’s account and address them as the legal heir.
  • Professional Assistance: If you encounter any difficulties or have complex tax situations, it’s advisable to seek guidance from a tax advisor or chartered accountant. Get in touch with our tax experts today at Vakilsearch and know more.


Who issues legal heir certificates in Gujarat?

Legal heir certificates in Gujarat are issued by the Mamlatdar's office within your jurisdictional region.

How do I write a legal heir certificate?

You cannot write a legal heir certificate yourself. It must be issued by the authorized government office after verifying your claims and documents.

How can I get a legal heir certificate in Ahmedabad?

You can apply for a legal heir certificate in Ahmedabad by visiting the Mamlatdar's office with the required documents: Application form (provided by the office) Death certificate of the deceased Proof of your identity and address Proof of relationship to the deceased (marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc.) Affidavit confirming the truth of your claims Other documents as specified by the office

What is the difference between a legal heir certificate and a family certificate?

A legal heir certificate specifically establishes who the legal heirs of a deceased person are and their shares in the inheritance. A family certificate simply proves the familial relationship between members of a family.

Who are the legal heirs of a father?

In India, the first priority legal heirs of a father are his spouse and children. If there is no spouse or children, his parents become the heirs. Siblings inherit only when there are no parents or surviving spouse and children.

How important is a legal heir certificate?

A legal heir certificate is crucial for various purposes, including: Claiming inheritance rights (property, bank accounts, etc.) Transferring assets of the deceased Closing bank accounts and obtaining death benefits Settling debts and liabilities Filing tax returns for the deceased

What are the 12 types of legal heirs?

There is no universal classification of legal heirs in India. The order of inheritance varies depending on factors like religion, state laws, and the presence of a will. However, some commonly considered legal heirs in India include: Spouse Children Parents Siblings Grandchildren Grandparents Uncle/Aunt Nephew/Niece First cousin Sister's/Brother's children Mother's sister/brother's children Father's sister/brother's children

What is the cost of a legal heir certificate in India?

The cost can vary depending on the state and jurisdiction. Typically, it ranges between Rs. 50 to Rs. 200. Additional fees may apply for document copies or express processing.

Is a legal heir certificate mandatory for a bank account?

If the deceased had a single account, only the nominee (if any) needs to claim the funds. For joint accounts, the surviving account holder can access the funds. Legal heir certificate may be required for closing the account and distributing remaining funds in case there's no nominee or surviving joint account holder.

Is an Aadhaar card mandatory for legal heir certificate?

While not mandatory in all cases, an Aadhaar card can simplify the application process and serve as valid proof of identity and address. Check with your local Mamlatdar's office for their specific requirements.

Is there any time limit for the succession certificate?

There is no specific time limit for applying for a succession certificate. However, it's generally advisable to apply within a reasonable time after the deceased's death to avoid delays or complications.

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