Wills and Inheritance Unit 24 Inheritance Law Inheritance Law (sometimes called Wills and Probate) is concerned with the distribution of a person’s property following their death This may occur either in accordance with the provisions of a will, or under applicable rules relating to intestacy (when a person dies without a will) Inheritance 1. The devolution of property on the death of its owner, either according to the provisions of his will or under the rules relating to intestacy Will A document by which a person directs what should happen to their property after their death Will A will must be made: 1) in writing, 2) signed by the testator (the person making the will), 3) witnessed by at least two witnesses Validity of a will The testator must: 1. have testamentary capacity 2. make the will of his own free wishes without any undue influence Testamentary capacity The ability to make a legally valid will Persons under 18 years of age and mental patients do not have testamentary capacity Testamentary capacity The testator must: 1. Understand the nature of the document 2. The property of which he is disposing 3. The persons who have a natural claim to provision from his estate 4. The manner in which he provides for his estate to be distributed Undue influence Influence that prevents someone from exercising an independent judgement with respect to any transaction Undue influence A will may be held invalid if it is shown that the testator made it under undue influence It must be shown that unfair advantage has been taken of another person Beneficiaries Persons who inherit property under a will The property of a deceased person is known as their estate Estate The aggregate of all the property to which a person is beneficially entitled. It covers not only tangible property, but also debts, and any rights capable of being reduced to a monetary value Revocation and alteration of wills A will can be revoked or altered in the following ways: 1. By making a new will that makes it clear that the previous will(s) are revoked 2. By destruction of the previous will 3. By marriage or divorce 4. By amendment (an attached codicil) Challenging of a will A will may be challenged on the grounds that: it was not properly executed the testator lacked testamentary capacity it has been revoked it was fraudulent undue influence Intestacy The state in which a person dies without having made a will disposing of all his property To die intestate Intestacy In that case, the person’s property is distributed in accordance with the intestacy rules The order of priority reflects the importance accorded to familial relationships: the surviving spouse is given the larger share of the estate Probate The official document which confirms that the will is valid and states who the executors are Generally, the term probate is used to refer to the various laws and courts which deal with wills, intestacy, inheritance and disputes over estates Freedom of disposition vs. forced heirship Freedom of disposition – common law countries Forced heir(ship) – civil law countries – a person whom the testator or donor cannot disinherit because the law reserves part of the estate for that person Legal terms Testator Oporučitelj Executor Izvršitelj oporuke Beneficiary Oporučni nasljednik Heir Zakonski nasljednik Legal terms Legator oporučitelj Legatee Oporučni nasljednik Pecuniary legatee Nasljednik koji nasljeđuje gotovinu Legal terms Testamentary capacity Oporučna sposobnost Testamentary disposition Oporučno raspolaganje Legal terms Estate Ostavinska masa, imovina umrle osobe, ostavina Bequest A gift by will of property other than land Legal terms Assets All real and personal property that forms part of the deceased’s estate and is available for the payment of the deceased’s debts; property which can be turned into cash Imovina; ostavina; aktiva Legal terms Legacy A gift of personal property by will; oporučni dar Pecuniary legacy Novčano nasljedstvo Reversion Vraćanje (prava, posjeda); prijenos ostavine Legal terms Probate Ovjerena oporuka, sudska ovjera oporuke, ovjereni prijepis pravovaljane oporuke Probate proceeding Ostavinski postupak, ostavinska rasprava Legal terms Probate action Ostavinska tužba Legal terms Execution of will Izvršenje oporuke Revocation of will Opoziv oporuke Revoke a will Opozvati oporuku Legal terms Intestacy Nepostojanje oporuke To die intestate Umrijeti bez oporuke Intestate heir Zakonski nasljednik
"Pa Estate Inheritance Laws"