Making Succession and Inheritance easier: Inputs Sought

Succession, Inheritance and transfer of assets to heirs post death continues to be a difficult process in India. One where, a common citizen has to touch multiple local bodies like Patwari,Tehsildar, Councillor, Government departments, courts, not so co-operating corporates (in case of share transfer), etc and the process is riddened with bribery and delays and in some cases things just get stuck. Previously, we had taken your inputs on issues, root causes and solutions (listed below) and soon would like to escalate this to the Central Government for their awareness and action. We urge you to think a little differently and suggest how even a new model can be designed where inheritance and succession processing can be centralised, significant steps brought online thereby reducing the step requiring in person interface with officials.

Succession and Inheritance - Solutions

1.Death certificates should be made available online within 7 days of the death being reported
2.The process of getting NOCs should be streamlined
3.Laws regarding succession and inheritance should be reviewed according to the latest circumstances
4.Laws related to succession and inheritance needs to be framed across religion
5.Proper and simplified rules for obtaining a succession certificate should be defined
6.Opening of every account should require a nominee by law
7.A cap on the lawyer’s fees should be put to handle inheritance cases
8.The transparency in the working of the related departments should be increased
9.A customer service counter/helpline could be started to help people with questions
10. Systems should computerized to reduce human interaction, and hence reduce corruption
11.Marriage registration should be compulsory; without registration banking facilities and other facilities should be withdrawn
12.The area Revenue Authority should confirm the list of Successors and the District Collector & Magistrates should issue the Succession Certificate within 30 days from the date of application
13.Nominal fees, fixed by government should be applicable for basic paper work so that no one gets deprived of their rights due to high fees
14.One window system could be started for transferring the properties.

Succession and Inheritance – Root Causes
1.Laws and provisions for succession and inheritance have not been revised in a long time
2.There is corruption in the judicial system at all levels
3.Succession and inheritance cases are tricky ones which need experienced lawyers
4.Nomination is not mandatory in many accounts
5.There is a lack of commitment in the employees in these departments
6.These offices have very limited digitalization
7.Registration of marriage is not mandatory in India
8.There is no clear definition of "separation"
9.Lack of one stable rule which applies to all religions
10.Banks and mutual funds have different forms & procedures for similar kind of work creating hassles for customers.

Succession and Inheritance - Key Issues

1.Death certificate takes a long time to get prepared
2.Getting NOCs from different organizations becomes very tough
3.No concrete laws in this matter
4.The whole procedure of getting a succession certificate takes a very long time in the courts
5.Transfer of shares certificates from the deceased to successors is very difficult, requires court certificate which in turn requires huge deposits.
6.Many accounts do not need a nominee while going through the opening procedures
7.Lawyers charge a huge fee for taking up succession cases (many pay bribes to get work done)
8.Expenses and labour involved in obtaining the succession certificate is another tough ask
9.There is a lack of transparency among cross functional offices
10.The registrar office and staff is very corrupt and getting anything done there takes a lot of time and money
11.There is no customer service department/helpline which could answer the questions which arise in such cases. more  

View all 256 comments Below 256 comments
Reduce number of property documents and name change procedures in line with developed countries. We need to preserve physically several documents throughout our life and losing any is a nightmare. Make it digilocker enabled. more  
Yes,presently rules are cumbersam.Needs review and reduce harassment to the affected person. more  
There should be only one department/window to which a heir should be required to approach and it should issue letters/certificates for the other departments to effect inheritance which should be required to be filed electronically with a time bound program to register and issue certificate by the concerned department. more  
I also reiterated. This is the best remedy more  
Single window operation through online in respect of the issuance of documents/certificates related to succession and inheritance and within a time of frame 30 days from the date of making application for the same will solve all the issues. There should be no manual inervention in this process. more  
Totally agree with what you have mentioned. Will bring down time as well as corruption too in a big way. more  
WILL registration is optional and a WILL can be changed at any time. However, once a Will is registered, a law should be passed for process of cancelling the existing old registration with a new one. No other unregistered 'WILL' will then on be admissible in any forum. This will avoid a lot of lengthy legal battle on authenticity of WILL
There should be a national common law for succession. more  
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