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Legal Heir

Legal Heir Registration

According to the Income Tax Act, 1961, if a deceased person had taxable income in the previous year, the income tax return must be filed by the legal heir. The legal heir has to file the income tax return on his behalf for the income earned till the date of death. The legitimate heir has to register himself at the official website of Income Tax Department for filing the return on behalf of the deceased. In this article, we look at the procedure for legal heir registration under Income Tax in detail.

In India, there are different personal laws and many statutes governing the issue of marriage, divorce, and succession. Over matters such as insurance, inheritance, identifying legal heir is important as they are the ultimate successor over the property under inheritance and also over insurance claims.

Under common law, an heir is an individual appointed by law to succeed to the estate of an ancestor who died without a will. The term legal heir is commonly used to refer to a person who succeeds to property, either by will or law. Who is a legal heir? How to identify a legitimate heir? A detailed article dealing with the issue.


Legal heir under Hindu personal law

Heir means any person, male or female, who is entitled to succeed to the property of an intestate (person dying without declaring a will).

The property of a male Hindu dying intestate shall firstly go to the heirs, being the relatives specified in class I of the Schedule of Hindu Succession Act. Here is the list of legal heir under the Hindu personal law.

  • Son
  • Daughter
  • Widow
  • Mother
  • Son of a pre-deceased son
  • Daughter of a pre-deceased son
  • Son of a pre-deceased daughter
  • Daughter of a pre-deceased daughter
  • Widow of a pre-deceased son
  • Son of a pre-deceased son of a pre-deceased son
  • Daughter of a pre-deceased son of a pre-deceased son
  • Widow of a pre-deceased son of a pre-deceased son.

Legal heir under Christian personal law in India

According to section 32 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 the legal heir of a Christian are husband, wife or the kindred of the deceased.

  • Widow
  • Son
  • Daughter
  • Father
  • Mother
  • Brother, Sister
  • Lineal consanguinity
  • A, an intestate, left a great-grandfather, an uncle, and a nephew

Legal Heir Certificate

A legal heir certificate is different from a succession certificate, a succession certificate is generally issued by the civil court and there are separate procedures to obtain the same. Major differences between these two certificates are listed below:

  • Legal heir certificate usage is limited to certain matters such as claiming employee benefits of the deceased, insurance claims, property registration etc.
  • A legal heir certificate is not conclusive proof under the law of succession India.
  • With respect to the settlement of any property which is disputed or under court litigation, a succession certificate is vital.

Uses of Legal Heir Certificate

As stated above, a legal heir certificate identifies the rightful successor who then, can claim the assets/properties of the deceased person. All eligible successors must possess this certificate to lay a claim over the deceased person’s property.

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