How legal heirs can find out investments of their deceased kin

The Private Client team at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas shares their comments and opinions in an article in the  following Q&A which was published by the Mint Newspaper on 20th April, 2022 and the online edition of the same can be found here.

I lost a friend a few days ago. I know that he had invested in stocks and mutual funds (MFs) but his family is unaware of this. What is the procedure by which his family can know about all the investments he had made prior to his death?

— Kartik Sharma

In India, there is no central depository or mechanism where one can find out about all the categories of assets/investments held by an individual. However, as far as MFs and stocks are concerned, the depositories in India i.e., NSDL and CDSL send out a consolidated account statement (CAS) on a monthly basis, which reflects the financial transactions in securities and all MFs on the basis of PAN of the individual.

Assuming your friend’s immediate family (being the legal heirs of the deceased) have access to the deceased’s emails, they may be able to obtain the CAS from his emails, or via physical records maintained by the deceased. They can also perhaps go through the bank records like bank statements or bank passbooks of the deceased to find out about his investments. Sending a written request to the NSDL and/or CDSL seeking all the investments of the deceased based on his PAN can also be considered. They can also check the previous tax and related filings, or correspondence with his chartered accountant/lawyer, to see if any such assets were discussed. We are assuming that the deceased did not leave any Will, which could have listed out his holdings.

Once the investments in listed stocks and MFs are known, the heirs can submit the transmission request form to the concerned depository along with the requisite supporting documents. If the MFs are held in physical mode, the heirs can submit a similar transmission request form with the relevant MF house. They can also check if any of his accounts had a nomination made in favour of a family member.