Everything about inheritance, inheritance proceedings and last will
Moments, when somebody close to you passes away, can be very difficult. Besides funeral arrangements, it is often needed to arrange for other administrative tasks. Besides cancelation and arrangement of retirement pensions, arrangement of a death certificate or applying for a funeral grant, it is also needed to pay attention to inheritance proceedings. We would like to give you at least some basic information you need to know for settling the inheritance.
What are the inheritance proceedings and how they are conducted
The inheritance proceedings are a kind of civil law process to decide about the heirs of the deceased, i.e. the testator. That means the rights and obligations of the deceased will be transferred to their heirs.
The inheritance proceedings begin in the moment the district court of the district, in which the person died, appoints a notary. The notary will be the leading person in the process, they will be discussing and issuing resolutions concerning the inheritance.
The whole process consists of many things to verify and document. It needs to be made clear if there was a last will or a testament, a prenup, or any disinheritance deeds. The notary must find out who belongs among the bereaved and who of them should inherit. In preliminary proceedings, it will start to shadow forth how the inheritance will be divided among the heirs. They are then notified about the right to inherit and about the possibility to refuse the inheritance in a given period. Afterwards, a settlement, an agreement and a final resolution about the inheritance follows. This is a general description of inheritance proceedings, but please remember that individual cases may require individual approach on the part of the notary and the bereaved.
The length of the inheritance proceedings also differs. It depends on the accessibility and the state of required materials and documents (for example, the will), as well as the accessibility and will to cooperate of heirs and witnesses. In the process, there also is a possibility to refuse the inheritance or to appeal against the decision; because of these, the length of the inheritance proceedings is very individual.
What belongs to the inheritance
The inheritance usually consists of chattel and real estate (houses, flats, land), but may also include for example copyright. In the inheritance proceedings, however, it is necessary to resolve everything the deceased owned, both entirely (he was the only owner) and partially (he was one of many owners). An example of a partial ownership is joint property of spouses. The court in these cases decides the price of the joint property of spouses on the day of death and decides what, from this property, belongs to the deceased, and what belongs to the bereaved spouse. The part belonging to the deceased is then, in the inheritance proceedings, adjudicated to one of the heirs.
If real estate is a part of the inheritance proceedings, it is required to estimate the price of the property.
How the inheritance is divided (according to different groups)
The inheritance is divided between individual heirs, which can be an individual, a legal entity or the state. The law defines groups, which set the order of inheritance.
- Children, spouse: These people inherit in equal parts. In the case that one of the children cannot assume the inheritance, it falls to their offspring. It is good to remember that a spouse cannot inherit everything themselves. That means, the rule mentioned above is valid only if the deceased had children. If the marriage was without offspring, division according to group 2 applies.
- Spouse, parents and people living with the deceased in common household at least one year prior to the death, who looked after the household or were financially dependent on the deceased. Similarly to the first group, it is good to know, that people sharing a household with the deceased cannot inherit everything. If there are no other heirs, the rules of the third group apply.
- Siblings in equal parts, and people living with the deceased in common household at least one year prior to the death, who cared about the household or were financially dependent on the deceased. In case one of the siblings is no longer alive, their children can inherit, but their grandchildren cannot
- Grandparents of the testator
- Grandparents of parents of the testator
- Grandchildren of the testator’s siblings (grand nephews and nieces) and children of grandparents (aunts and uncles)
- State: In case no one from the abovementioned people exists, the inheritance goes to the state.
More information about inheritance groups can be found on the website of the Notary Chamber of Czech Republic
There are cases when one of the heirs may be labelled as an ineligible heir. That happens in cases when an intentional crime, a disembarrassment of parental liability, or any other exception defined in law occured between the deceased and the potential heir.
Last will, or a testament
As mentioned in the introduction, a last will of the deceased, in which they appointed one person or more people as heirs, may impact the inheritance proceedings. There are different ways in which the will may be written to be acknowledged.
Last will as a private document
This last will may have two forms. The first one is a holographic will (a will written by own hand with the signature of the testator), the second one is an allographic testament (a will, not written by own hand, but signed by the testator with the presence of two witnesses, before whom the deceased proclaims that the document contains his last will and testament). A testament is considered allographic, if it is written on a computer or a typewriter. The witnesses may not be among the heirs mentioned in the will.
There is no fixed form of a will, but it is important that all the people and objects mentioned in the will are described precisely (concerning people, it is ideal to include the most information possible, including the date of birth and contact details). The will must be signed below all of the text and must include a date.
Last will as a public document (a notary record)
It is possible to compose a will at a notary’s office, who will then archive it in a collection of notary records accessible only by the notary and authorised persons. It is the Central Register of Testaments, where all wills, disinheritance deeds and, since 2005, deeds of appointing a heritage manager are filed.
Privileged will (will procured with reliefs)
Exceptions from normal conditions for will conclusion are applied in the case that any one of the conditions is impossible to meet at that moment. That includes moments of immediate danger to one’s life or in place where a normal social contact is paralyzed because of an extraordinary incident. These wills have their own rules, concerning the number of witnesses and the processing of the will afterwards.
What must be included in a will
Every person mentioned in the will must be clearly identifiable, the will must include a date and a signature at the end of the will.
Will vs. heirs
The will has a priority over the inheritance law, which defines heir groups as described above. If the whole inheritance is not divided by the will, then the will is applied to the described part of the inheritance and the rest is governed by the inheritance law. It is good to know that indispensable heirs, who inherit even in the case that they are not mentioned in a will, exist. Those are children of the deceased, or in some cases, grandchildren.
An exclusion of an indispensable heir from the process is possible only by an official disinheritance, which has its rules. It is obligatory to write a disinheritance deed, which, like the will, is deposited to the Central Register of Testaments. This deed may be written by hand or at a notary’s office – for the deed, the same rules as for a will apply. Contrary to the will, this deed must include reasons that lead to the disinheritance. It must be at least one from the following list:
- The potential heir did not help the deceased in the time of need,
- they do not show interest in the deceased, which they should,
- they were sentenced for a crime with circumstances testifying to his perverse nature,
- they continuously lead an inordinate lifestyle.
In the case that the disinherited does not agree, they can sue and discredit these reasons in a court of law.
This text describes the conditions concerning inheritance according the Civil law in the year 2019. We always recommend seeking information at a notary’s office, if there were any changes in the inheritance proceedings, or what are its exact conditions. Should you have any questions, you may contact the employees of our funeral home, who will advise you on how to proceed in certain situations.
We will happily provide all the information at our nonstop phoneline of our funeral home +420 725 900 800