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Inheritance Law

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Inheritance Law

There are two types of inheritance: hereditary succession and testamentary succession. Therefore, the transfer of the decedent’s property to other persons (heirs) is implemented according to law or will, or based on both grounds.

Pursuant to the law, in case of hereditary succession the heirs can be persons who survived the decedent as of the moment of his/her death, and also, the decedent's children born alive after his or her death.

In case of testamentary succession the heirs can be (surviving) persons who survived the decedent as of moment of his/her death, as well as those conceived during the decedent's lifetime and born after his/her death (even if these are not his/her children), as well as legal entities.

The law regulates inheritance at law, and under whose possession and in what quantities shall the deceased’s (decedent) property remain. In such a case, there is a principle of order of priority (with five classes), which means that in case of existence of upper class heir the remaining classes of heirs are excluded from inheritance.

Legal heirs according to the order of priority are:

1st class - Decedent’s children, child born after his/her death, spouse, parents (adoptive parents).

Child born out of wedlock is considered to be a successor, if paternity is established by the law.

Adopted child and his/her descendants, similar to adoptive parent and his/her relatives, are equal to the children of adoptive parents and their descendants. Adopted child is no longer considered to be the heir of his parents and other biological relatives in the ascending line, as well as brothers and sisters after the death.

Grandchildren, great grandchildren and children of the latter are considered as heirs, if their parents who have been the heir of the decedent, at the time of opening of the estate, are no longer alive, and equally take the portion to which the inheritance of their deceased parent would have been entitled to;

Grandchildren, great grandchildren and children of the latter shall not be deemed to be legal heirs, if their parents have refused to accept the inheritance (refused the right to hereditary succession). Adoptive parents and their blood relatives, similar to the adopted child and his/her descendants, are equal (have equal rights) as the adoptee's parents and other blood relatives. Adopted parents, siblings by blood and other blood relatives in the ascending line do not inherit (are no longer legal heirs) by law after the death of the adopted child or his descendants;

2nd class - Deceased’s siblings, niece and nephew, if the parent who would have been the heir of the decedent is no longer alive at the time of the decedent's death;

3rd class - Paternal and maternal grandparents and great grandparents; great grandparents shall be deemed to be legal heirs, if by the time the estate is being opened, the grandparents are no longer alive;

4th class - Uncles, aunts;

5th class - First cousins; if they are not alive, then their children.

The property (estate) is distributed equally among the heirs of the same rank (class). At this time there is no difference between the rights to the inheritance of the heirs. The court decides any dispute regarding inheritance among the heirs.

In case of testamentary succession, in contrast to the hereditary succession, the deceased (testator) identified in advance by testamentation (drawing up a will) the heirs and the portions of estate these heirs are entitled to (who will get how much of his property).

By the will, the testator is able to transfer his property to the legal heirs, as well as any other non-related person, including legal (organization, establishment) entity.

If an entire estate was divided according to the will among the heirs, but one of the heirs of the estate at the time of the opening estate is no longer alive, the hereditary succession (inheritance law/legal succession) is not established and the portion of the property shall be divided among other testamentary heirs.

In case of testamentary succession, the natural portion (share) of the decedent’s property (estate) is transferred to the heirs of the first rank (class).

The natural portion (share) of the property constitutes half of the property that would have been transferred to the heirs of the first rank (class) in the absence of the will.

Both hereditary and testament succession are established if the will distributing only a portion of the estate (the will is made only about a portion of the estate) and/or a court declaring the will partially void. The hereditary succession applies to the remaining part of the estate, which is not mentioned in the will and/or the court declared partially void.

No. In order for the property of the decedent (testator) to be attributed to the heir, it is necessary for the heir to the receive the inheritance according to law (legally/lawfully/as prescribed by law), within six months after the decedent's death.

Inheritance is considered as received by the heir after the heir (through testamentary or hereditary succession) applies to a notary office with the request of inheritance and obtains the certificate (title deed) of inheritance.

Inheritance is considered as received by the actual ownership or control by the heir of the inheritance, which proves that the heir has received the inheritance.

Persons with disabilities receives the inheritance with the assistance of their legal representatives, while recipients of support through the help of support providers, if this support to exercise property rights was assigned (issued) by a court decision.

Actual possession of the estate may be carried out in various ways. One of the options is for the heir to live in the same house (this should be proved by the certificate issued by the Public Service Development Agency) as the testator, at the time of death of the latter; also, for the heir to move things (within the 6-month period of the decedent's death) and keep them in order to then be distributed to other heirs (if any) too.

The actual control of the estate refers to the instances when the heir does not actually own the property, but her/his actions prove that s/he considers the estate as her/his own, by, for example, paying taxes after opening of the estate, etc.

The heir can appeal to the notary and request to receive inheritance. In this occasion, there are no pre-defined statutory dates/deadlines for receiving inheritance, as it means that the inheritance in received by the heir already and referring to the notary for the purpose of formalizing is voluntary.

Inheritance must be received in the period of the six months after the death of the decedent (testator). The heir, who fails to meet the deadline, may lose the right to inheritance!!!

If the heir is a person with a limited capacity (disability) or receives support (assistance), the right to inheritance may be waived with the permission of the court.

After the expiry date of receiving inheritance, the heir who has missed the deadline may still receive the inheritance, if all remaining heirs agree on this. The deadline for receiving the inheritance may be extended also by the court, if the excuse for missing the deadline is found valid.

The heir, who has missed the statutory six-month period for receiving inheritance to, and in fact did not take the estate into possession, should appeal to court with the statement of claim. Complainant or his/her representative should indicate in the statement of claim valid excuse for missing the deadline, appeal for this excuse to be found valid and/or request for extending the deadline. At this moment, another heir who is against the statement of claim becomes defendant (libellee) in this court case.

Statement about the refusal of inheritance should be drawn in the notary office.

State tax for appealing court is due to be paid according to the legislation (3% of the property value; the value of the property shall be determined by the audit report).

The certificate (title deed) of inheritance is a notarial certificate (act) certifying (confirming) the inherited estate (inheritance). In order for the real estate indicated in the certificate (title deed) of inheritance to be considered as owned by the person, it is necessary to register it at any of the National Agency of the Public Registry or Public Service Hall based on the estate location.

The certificate of inheritance (title deed) is issued to the heirs any time after the six months period passes from the opening of the estate.

The certificate of inheritance (title deed) is issued earlier than six months if the notary office (notary) is notified that there are other heirs apart from the ones requesting the certificate of inheritance (title deed).

In a family household (community) the inheritance of a joint household estate will be opened after the death of the last member of the household (community).

The heir is obliged to satisfy the creditors of the decedent (pay debts) adopted in the framework of the inheritance (estate).