Certificate of succession

In order to simplify the procedures relating to succession and increase the guarantees for forced heirs, the certificate of succession, already present in many European countries, would attest to the date of opening of the succession procedure, who the heirs are, who the beneficiaries are of particular clauses in a will, the composition of the estate and so on.

Subject of the reform. What is it?

The certificate of succession which already exists in many European countries such as Belgium, Romania, Austria and France, attests to the date of opening of the succession procedure, who the heirs are, who the beneficiaries are of particular clauses in a will and the composition of the estate, as well as the powers of the persons identified by the deceased to administer the succession and act as executors of the will.

The certificate of succession must be drawn up by a notary at the request of the heirs and legatees, or their legal representatives or other persons specified in the proposal.

All data must be attested to by the above-mentioned persons before the notary who, after verifying the conformity of the statements and if necessary requesting additional documentation, formalises the document and has it entered in the property register after payment of the relevant taxes. 

Purpose of the proposal. What are the benefits?

This proposal aims to ensure the early and rapid availability of information on the succession through the institution of a succession certificate that provides considerable advantages, allowing for simplification of the succession procedure and increased guarantees for the forced heirs.

The certificate of succession supersedes the current system of a declaration of succession which is a mere tax compliance and unproductive of effects in civil law, and pursues the objective of ensuring more certainty in the fulfilment of tax obligations.

The certificate allows for:  

  • the immediate identification of assets subject to succession and persons liable for property and cadastral taxes;
  • the calculation and payment of property and cadastral taxes and any inheritance tax;
  • the electronic transmission of data to the tax authorities by the notary, resulting in real-time updating of the databases. 

As for guarantees, moreover, it must also be pointed out that the document is valid as evidence to the effect that the person named in the certificate as the heir, legatee or executor is presumed to be so unless proved otherwise. With regard to third-party purchasers who purchase from those entitled to inherit according to the certificate, it is provided that their purchase shall outweigh the beneficial owners except in cases of bad faith or gross negligence.

The proposal also aims to bring our system into line with EU legislation which, in order to allow successions with cross-border implications to be handled as quickly and effectively as possible, has recently approved a Regulation on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and authentic instruments in matters of succession and the creation of a European Certificate of Succession.