August 21, 2015
In modern Europe where no borders exist people more often change their country of residence, own real estate, bank accounts and hold other assets in different countries. This, in return, has certain consequences within the meaning of the law of succession. In cases described above the heirs to the estate left in different countries may face certain problems such as, for instance, the necessity to initiate parallel succession proceedings simultaneously in two or more countries – in accordance with the location of the assets. This without any doubts causes inconveniences and may just as well result in disputes between heirs and appreciation of the expenses. For example, a person deemed heir in accordance with the laws of one EU member state may not be considered heir in another member state and thus will not have the right to inherit. Another common problem is the validity of wills required to be enforced in a member state other than the member state of its origin. This and many other issues could not remain unsettled on EU level.
Common approach to resolution of many succession problems was found by means of adopting the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and acceptance and enforcement of authentic instruments in matters of succession and on the creation of a European Certificate of Succession, hereinafter referred to as – the Regulation. Said Regulation has become applicable as of 17 August 2015 and extends to all cases of succession occurring on or after that date.
The Regulation governs such important issues as applicable law, exclusion of parallel proceedings, recognition of wills and other authentic documents. Now inheritance cases are dealt with by one competent institution (court or other institution) in one country and decisions rendered in such matters are recognized without any formalities in other EU member states. This shall significantly improve and ease up the succession procedures within European Union, excluding Denmark, Ireland and United Kingdom, which don’t participate in the Regulation
Also the Regulation governs a so-called European Certificate of Succession. With the help of this document the persons to whom it extends will be able to confirm their rights and duties arising out of the inheritance matter. For instance, said certificate may be used to confirm the rights and duties of the executor of the will and its authorization to perform certain acitivities, or for purpose of confirmation of the heirs’ rights to inherit certain property. Said document will ease up the process of performing formalities connected with the succession such as registration of ownership rights in different registers or taking into possession of other assets, such as, for example, funds from the bank accounts of the estate-leaver. The European Certificate of Succession has equal legal force in other participating member states and is recognized without any formalities.
However, despite all the novelties said to simplify the process, the heirs will one way or another face certain issues the resolution of which should be entrusted to professionals. “Belyaev & Belyaev” experts have many years’ experience in matters related to succession law, we specialize on all kinds of issues arising therefrom, including disputes between heirs and taking care of cross-border succession matters in different countries.