Update from 2023:

We wrote the original article a while back when the NADRA Succession Certificate Service was not available.At this point legal heirs in Islamabad, KPK, Sindh and Punjab have the option of getting a succession certificate from NADRA.In such a case they will ask for a letter for the Succession process from your official as official correspondence.The NADRA website lists the requirement as, ‘In case of a public or private employee, the letter from employer mentioning all the terminal benefits for which succession is required”.

In many cases this letter would be about pension benefits accruing for the deceased.The letter you have to issue will need to have details of employment of the deceased person and his eligibility for monthly pension or any other service benefits with amounts.

________________________________________________Our original article is as below. Please note that the NADRA does not process Succession certificates in some situations.It will be useful for you to read our updated Main Page on Getting A Succession Certificate in Pakistan.

If you need guidance on the Islamic Shares of legal heirs, read our Article here.

The death of an employee can  cause many  practical legal problems at the workplace and for the employer especially if that employee had access to a lot of your key documentation and was responsible for a lot of company/corporate work.

A key question which often comes forward is how to manage the succession dues and salaries (gratuities etc).This issue becomes more visible in medium to large businesses where there are many employees and it is difficult to know each employee and their family life on a close personal level.Then again in Pakistan polygamy is allowed as per Islamic rules, therefore the courts and the employers both have to be careful to ensure that no other wives or their children are left behind or excluded from the succession funds or properties. Many insurance companies and land registries hence insist on seeing a duly court processed succession or ‘heir-ship’ certificate so if there is fraud on the cards, it can come forth during the pendency of the trial.

Below we give some humble suggestions and guidelines for the employer with regards to the the surviving/bereaved family on points of action so that some facilitation can be provided.

(1)  At the point an employee dies, you must endeavor to reach their next of kin, successors and family and clarify that no court document will be accepted unless it specifies the full amount of arrears owed to the deceased.This may include pensions, gratuities and any remaining insurance/salary dues.

(2)  After contacting them you must also send them a full letter explaining the nature and amount of the dues of the deceased from your office records and let them know that this letter must be annexed to any succession proceedings, (edit 2023: whether at NADRA or at the Court) so the judge can endorse this as a part of the succession property/immovable assets.

Such letters can help avoid any unwanted claims and misunderstandings later on.

(3)  Please keep a record of all communication on paper. Please always include an exclusion clause, that you are only bound to release the funds to those successors, whose names have been included in the court judgement.The courts have developed a wise principle of taking financial security from legal heirs, in case any one legal heir has been excluded.

These simple steps will help you resolve a lot of ambiguities in advance. Please also, if a judgement is received without asking you or or your organisation  for the letter first, ask a lawyer to review the whole documents submitted in court for the same, before releasing the funds. If the judgement is specific enough to include ’employment dues’ (even minus the detailed amounts), then it can, in theory be accepted but with the correct legal checks.

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Edit 2023: In summary, in the situations discussed above you should :

  1. Anticipate and Clarify Ambiguities in Advance: To minimize potential uncertainties, it’s essential to identify and address ambiguities beforehand. This can be achieved by carefully reviewing contracts, agreements, and relevant legal documents. Seek legal advice to clarify any vague or unclear terms and ensure all parties involved have a comprehensive understanding of their rights and obligations.
  2. Engage Legal Counsel for Document Review: If you receive a judgment without prior notice or consultation, it’s prudent to engage a lawyer to review the entire set of documents submitted in court. This step is crucial to verify the accuracy and legality of the judgment. A thorough review ensures that all necessary legal checks are conducted, helping you identify any discrepancies or irregularities that may impact your rights or financial interests.
  3. Diligence in Fund Release: When a judgment includes the release of funds, exercising caution is paramount. Before disbursing any funds, it is advisable to consult with legal professionals who can validate the judgment’s specific provisions. Even if the judgment references “employment dues” without providing detailed amounts, it is crucial to conduct the necessary legal checks. This ensures that the judgment aligns with the applicable laws and protects your organization from potential liabilities.

By following these steps, you can effectively safeguard your interests, mitigate legal risks, and maintain compliance with the legal framework. At Josh and Mak International our experienced legal team is well-versed in navigating complex legal matters and can provide you with the guidance and expertise necessary to protect your rights and assets. Contact us today to ensure a robust legal strategy tailored to your unique circumstances.

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