3. Probate

Probate is the official evidence of the executor’s right to represent and dispose of the testator’s estate as per the terms of the will. Under the Indian Succession Act, probate can be granted only to an executor appointed under a will, who has to apply to the relevant court for the probate. In the absence of an executor, the inheritors apply to the court for the appointment of an executor.

Probate is mandatory when the will is made in the cities Mumbai, Kolkata or Chennai or includes immovable properties situated therein.

In the absence of a will, the heirs can apply to the court for grant of letters of administration, a court certificate that appoints and authorises either a court officer or the deceased’s relative (administrator) to administer the deceased’s estate in accordance with deceased’s succession laws.

Where a grant of probate or letter of administration is not mandatory, a succession certificate can be granted by the local corporate body or a court to validly discharge and realise the deceased’s debts and securities.

In case of jointly held assets, the deceased’s interest devolves upon his legal heirs. The rules of succession supersede the survivorship, and though the respective authority transfers/recognises the assets in the name of the surviving joint holder by deleting the name of the deceased, it still it does not adversely affect the rights of the legal heirs to demand their interest in the said asset from the surviving joint holder.


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