Making claims after someone’s death: Know the dos and don’ts

Most people are not too aware about asset planning and their successors might face challenges afterwards

Making claims after someone's death: Know the dos and don'ts
Try to make a will during your lifetime as it would make your successor's life a bit easy. (Representative Image)

While filing claims after the death of any person, applicants need to produce several documents as proof of their inheritance. Most people are not too aware about asset planning and their successors might face challenges afterwards. To avoid such trouble, here are some essential documents and processes which one needs to be aware of. One of the most crucial documents is the death certificate. It is that one document which is absolutely necessary for any claim. It is a document that certifies officially that the person in question is dead.

Death certificates also are an official record of the date and time of death, which in most cases is also crucial information for a life insurance claim. It is generally issued by the Municipal Corporation in urban areas or by the gram panchayat in case of rural areas. This certificate is a necessity for all institutions including banks, mutual funds or insurance companies regardless of whether there is a will or nomination.

Claim application form

This form needs to be filled by the successor or the nominee at the time of making the claim. Each bank or insurance company has its own claim application form. The post office has its own form,  so do mutual fund companies.

The person has to give bank details or any other KYC details if the assets has to be transferred to any account like in case of shares in demat account or mutual funds portfolio.

Bank deposit can be transferred to the nominee or the successor’s bank account.

Probate of will

One needs to register a will. Also ensure that you have consulted a lawyer at the same time. A “probate of will” is required from the courts which certifies that the will is authentic. So, if you have to claim an asset, you will need to get probate from court to prove that the will is authentic.

Succession certificate

Succession certificate is necessary when there is no written will or absence of nomination, or when any name is not there on nominee list, but a person wants to claim the asset because he/she is the legal heir.

The person has to bring succession certificate from a court, which is a proof that the person is the valid legal heir. There are several laws revolving around it so you have to make this process fool proof.

The process

Within a month or two after the death of a person the nominee or the heir has to submit the claim form along with the death certificate and other documents. The person has to go to all the organisations such as banks, mutual fund houses, insurance companies etc. and submit the claim form with relevant documents.

There will be several layers of verification processes that are indeed very secure and critical. The banks, MF houses, or insurance companies need to ensure that the assets must be passed on to the right hand, or whoever is entitled to legally get it.

After a couple of weeks of backend verification the deposit, or assets, would be transferred to the claimant’s account.

Points to remember

Mistakes may happen due to ignorance or even because of a casual attitude. One must follow a couple of rules during his/her lifetime, otherwise there can be serious trouble.

Always add a nominee whether you have a savings account or fixed deposit. Nomination facility is also there for share trading or during buying insurance. Try to make a will during your lifetime as it would make your successor’s life a bit easy.

Put all important papers, i.e. bank deposits, NPS, mutual fund, insurance, trading etc. in a single place and keep your partner or children informed.

In case of a property, don’t forget to add a nominee or don’t forget to write a will.

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