How do Moldovans arrive at a court case to share inheritance. IPN interview
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06:19, 03 Oct 2017

The inheritance more often becomes a subject of legal debates. We talked about the reasons that bring relatives before court when it is about inheritance with lawyer Victor Pantiru, manager of the Law Firm “Pantiru and Partners”

– Are inheritance disputes often?

– I do not possess general statistical data, but the experience of the Law Firm I head shows these are not many, but now started to increase in number. This is due to the extinction of a generation, combined with the phenomenon of migration.

 – What are the most often issues on which inheritance disputes are based?

–The absence of a testament leads to misunderstandings between heirs. These conflicts most often appear owing to migration, when those who are abroad and often send money home or those who remain at home to look after persons who are at home consider that they deserve a larger part of the inheritance. Or when some of the heirs appear only when the property is to be divided, but they weren’t present in the life of the person who died. In such situations, it is normal for conflicts to appear. Also, conflicts appear when the person makes a will in the last moments of life. It should be noted that everywhere in the world, persons experience conflicts related to inheritance. It is not a local phenomenon.

Who are legitimate heirs when a testament is not left?

– The legitimate heirs of the first category are the descendants (children) of the deceased person, the living spouse and privileged successors (parents). If there are no heirs of the first category, there are heirs of the second category. The Civil Code explains this in Article 1500.

If a testament is not made and the deceased person does not have a family, can the brothers/sisters, uncles/aunts, cousins, etc. claim the inheritance?

– Surely they can. These are legitimate heirs of the second category. These are called collateral privileged relatives (brothers and sisters) and ordinary successors (grandparents related to the mother and father). The uncles and aunts form part of the third category and are called ordinary collateral relatives. The relatives of the first category inherit the property the first, in equal parts. If there are no persons of this category who would inherit, the relatives of the second category inherit or of the third category, if there are no second-category relatives.

In what conditions does the property of a person who died become state property?

– It happens when there are no descendants or collateral relatives up to the fourth category, or if there are such relatives, but they renounce the inheritance expressly or tacitly.

If there is a testament in the name of a person who is not related to the testator or of an institution, can the children of the testator or the spouse challenge the will and claim successor rights?

– It depends on the case. When there is a testament that leaves nothing to the relatives in favor of a third party, including a legal entity, we have to only respect the will of the testator. Evidently, there are situations when the persons are manipulated because they are vulnerable. The given wills are surely disputed. The situation is different when there are persons who need to be maintained, called rightful heirs (minor children, pensioners and invalids). The rightful heirs inherit a part of the legacy in a legal way, even if the last word of the testator was different. Thus, the rightful heirs inherit only half of what they would have inherited if there had been a will.

If the restatement leaves the whole property to one relative of the first category, can the other relatives claim inheritance?

– This can happen only if they are rightful heirs or they remain without anything.

Do the unrecognized children have the right to inherit? What is the procedure?

– To come into possession of the inheritance, one must prove the relatedness degree. This is done through civil status documents, such as birth, death, marriage and divorce certificates. If the name of the dead person is not indicated in the birth certificate, in the mother or father division, the person cannot legally inherit the property even if this is the biological child of the dead one.

Does the person who accepts inheritance assume the debts of the dead person?

– Yes. The person also accepts the debts when this accepts the inheritance.

If a person inherits property by will, but does not register this in their name, which is no legal documents are made when the person dies, can the legitimate heirs claim that property in time? What is the procedure?

– It is hard to imagine such a situation. If it happens, each case should be regarded separately. If the property still exists and is not in someone else’s possession, this is possible, in principle. But it is hard. I don’t think there are notaries who would venture to deal with such an inheritance procedure. Only a court case remains.

Sabina Rebeja, IPN

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