What is a Surviving Member Certificate?


Surviving member certificate is also known as a survivor certificate or legal heir certificate is issued by the Revenue Department of a State to identify the actual legal heirs of a deceased person. The legal heir certificate consists of details like name, age, relationship with the deceased, and marital status of all surviving family members.

Purpose of Survivor Certificate:

A survivor certificate/legal heir certificate/surviving member 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.

A legal heir certificate is required for the following purpose:

  • For transferring properties and assets of the demised person to his successors.
  • For claiming insurance.
  • To receive dues such as provident fund, gratuity, etc from the Government
  • For sanctioning and processing the family pension of the deceased employee.
  • To receive salary arrears of the deceased, state, or central Government employee.
  • To gain employment based on compassionate appointments.

Difference between Survivor Certificate & Succession Certificate:

A survivor certificate/surviving member certificate/legal heir certificate is different from a succession certificate. A succession certificate is issued by the civil court and a succession certificate is issued by the revenue department of a state and the procedure for issuance of both is also different.

Click here to read in detail about differences between Survivor Certificate &
Succession Certificate

Procedure to obtain a surviving member certificate:

Every state has a different procedure to obtain a survivor certificate. It can be obtained by approaching the Revenue Department, or from the corporation/municipality office of the respective area. This certificate names all legal heirs of the deceased person and is issued only after a proper enquiry. Listed below are the steps involved in the process of obtaining a legal heir certificate:

  • The legitimate heir of the deceased person must approach the appropriate authority in the respective area with a signed application. This application should contain the names of all the legal heirs, their relationship with the deceased, and addresses of the family members. The death certificate of the deceased person should also be attached.
  • A duly sworn affidavit on stamp paper by all the legal heirs has to be submitted.
  • An enquiry is conducted by the issuing authority.
  • Once the enquiry is completed successfully, the authorized officer issues the Legal heir certificate.

Documents Required for surviving member certificate

In order to obtain a survivor certificate/legal heir certificate/surviving member certificate, the following is the list of documents required:

  • Signed application form
  • Identity/Address proof of the applicant
  • Death certificate of the deceased
  • Duly sworn affidavits by all the legal heirs
  • Address proof of the deceased
  • Any other document sought by the issuing authority

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The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.