Inheritance has currently become quite problematic for those who are abroad or in territories where notaries do not work.
Many people now have relatives die during hostilities for various reasons. Many went abroad or left their permanent place of residence. No one knows when hostilities will end. And in connection with this, more and more often people turn to me with the question of how to submit an application for acceptance of inheritance, to whom to apply if the notaries are not working. What should I do if I am abroad and do not make it on time? What will happen if I do not submit an application because I cannot return to Ukraine in time?
Therefore, this article is devoted to the specifics of this process caused by the introduction of martial law.
In it you will learn:
- what are the terms of inheritance during martial law? What are the deadlines for registration of inheritance and obtaining a certificate of the right to inheritance? What to do if a person is abroad and cannot yet submit an application for acceptance of inheritance to a notary public?
- automatic acceptance of inheritance, who can not write an application for acceptance of inheritance of a notary public?
- what to do if the deadline for acquiring the inheritance is missed? What are the risks of such an omission?
- notary does not work during the war, what to do?
In order to talk about heritage, it is necessary, first of all, to accept it. In accordance with the provisions of Art. 1270 of the Civil Code of Ukraine, the term of acceptance of inheritance, whether by law or by will, is 6 months from the moment of the opening of the inheritance, that is, from the moment of the testator's death. The same term applies to the refusal of inheritance for those categories of persons who are those who have accepted inheritance automatically.
This means that after the death of a relative, within 6 months from the date of his death, you need to go to a notary and write an application for acceptance of inheritance. At the same time, there is no need to be afraid if, due to active hostilities, you do not have time to submit an application for acceptance of inheritance on time. In accordance with the provisions of the Resolution of the CMU of February 28, 2022 No. 164 "Some Notary Issues in the Conditions of Martial Law", the time limits for acceptance of inheritance are suspended for the duration of the martial law.
Thus, the time of hostilities is actually not taken into account in the account of the established 6 months of acceptance of inheritance. That is, the heir can accept the inheritance during martial law, regardless of its duration, and additionally after its cancellation, during the period that remained as of February 24, 2022, from the established 6 months. Of course, if you have such an opportunity, it is still better to submit an application for acceptance of inheritance to the notary now. But if there is no such possibility, do not worry. The main thing is, after the termination of martial law, do not delay, and immediately (as soon as possible) accept the inheritance. Otherwise, you risk challenging your right to inheritance in court.
Actions after acceptance of inheritance
After accepting the inheritance, already 6 months after the death of the testator, you need to issue the inheritance. That is, to finally start the inheritance and get a certificate of the right to it. Earlier than 6 months after the death of the testator, it is impossible to finalize the inheritance for oneself. Then, after 6 months, you are not limited by the time limit regarding the registration of the inheritance. If you submitted an application for acceptance of inheritance to a notary in time or are someone who accepted it automatically, then you can process the inheritance and receive a certificate of the right to inheritance at any time – immediately after 6 months from the time of the deceased's death, and even after several years.
However, I also advise not to delay this issue too much. In many institutions, communal services, you may be required to provide a document on property ownership. And until you receive a certificate of the right to inheritance, you will have nothing to say to them.
Automatic acceptance of inheritance
Now as to who can automatically accept the inheritance, who can not write the declaration of acceptance of the inheritance to a notary public? In accordance with the provisions of Part 3 of Art. 1268 of the Civil Code of Ukraine, an heir who permanently lived with the testator at the time of the opening of the inheritance (at the time of death) is considered to have accepted the inheritance, if within the period of its acceptance (6 months) he did not declare his rejection of it. This means that if you were registered together with the deceased at the time of his death at the same address, you do not have to go to a notary and write an application for acceptance of inheritance. You accepted it anyway.
However, in practice, if there is such an opportunity, I still recommend that even those registered with a deceased person at the same address still write an application for acceptance of inheritance to avoid possible problems in the future. This is not necessary, but it will only help you in the future. The fact is that there are cases when you can be discharged from the place of registration without your knowledge. And then there will be serious problems with the acceptance of the inheritance, if you did not submit an application to the notary about its acceptance. The fact of registration at the same address as the deceased should also be documented. This can be, for example, a certificate from the National Register of Citizens of Ukraine about the number of persons registered at the address of the deceased testator. But in the work of such centers, failures also happen, especially in the conditions of hostilities. Even in peacetime, there are queues, there are failures in the registers. And if you submit an application for acceptance of inheritance to a notary, these questions will disappear. If you do not submit it, your task will confirm the fact of living with the deceased at the same address in the future.
Minors and disabled persons
In accordance with the provisions of Part 4 of Art. 1268 of the Civil Code of Ukraine minors, minors, incapacitated persons, as well as persons with limited legal capacity, are considered to have accepted the inheritance, except for the cases provided for in parts 2-4 of Art. 1273 of the Central Committee of Ukraine. And these are cases of refusal of inheritance with the consent of parents, adoptive parents, guardians, custodians and necessarily the body of guardianship and guardianship. This means that minors inherit automatically. Although I also advise parents to contact a notary in time for their children to accept the inheritance.
It is also important to consider that there are cases when a person does not want to accept an inheritance. After all, inheritance is not only property, it is also the debts of the deceased. So sometimes it is more profitable to refuse an inheritance than to accept it. In this case, for the categories that are considered to have automatically accepted the inheritance, it is important to submit an application to the notary to renounce it within the period established for accepting the inheritance. In this way, you will be saved from the debts of the deceased. Otherwise, the chance will be lost, and the debts will become yours.
When the deadline for acceptance of inheritance is missed
What to do if the deadline for acquiring the inheritance is missed, what are the risks of such a situation? If you missed the 6 months to accept the inheritance simply because of the hostilities, don't despair. Perhaps you did not take into account the situation that during the period of martial law, the terms of inheritance are suspended and extended for the period as long as the martial law lasted. Also, if you are a person who automatically accepted the inheritance, you can not worry about the deadlines. However, if you stayed abroad even after the cancellation of martial law or for other reasons did not accept the inheritance on time, then you need to take care of recording valid reasons why this happened. They were simply afraid, there was no time, no desire, no money to return – all these reasons are disrespectful.
If the reason was the ongoing hostilities or a temporary ban on leaving some country, then, in my opinion, this is, of course, a valid reason for missing the deadlines. In this case, you need to obtain from a notary a written notarial refusal in connection with your failure to accept the inheritance. And then apply to the court with a statement of claim for granting an additional term for submitting an application for acceptance of inheritance. Particular attention in the lawsuit should be paid to the documentary justification of the validity of the reasons for skipping this term.
Missing the inheritance deadline has always been a serious problem. And often, without sufficient evidence of the validity of the reasons for its omission, the courts refused to grant people additional time to accept the inheritance.
Again, the seriousness of the reasons for the omission is an evaluative concept. But if, for example, you missed the deadline for accepting the inheritance by several months, then you have a chance to extend it. And if you have been waiting for something for several years, the chances of winning a lawsuit are there, but much smaller. They decrease in proportion to the time you are in arrears.
If you missed the deadlines for accepting the inheritance and did not renew it through the court, consider that you have lost the inheritance. Your share will pass to other heirs, if any. And if not, then this property will benefit the state. And believe me, she will seriously sue for him, it will be extremely difficult to take the inheritance back, even if it is a small old house. Therefore, missing the deadlines for accepting the inheritance automatically means a court process to grant you additional deadlines and, possibly, lawsuits with other heirs or the state on behalf of local governments. Therefore, everything must be done on time and, as folk wisdom says, "an expensive spoon before dinner."
A notary does not work during the war, what to do?
Even if not all notaries work in your region, you can submit an application for acceptance of inheritance to any other notary within Ukraine who is currently working. You can find a list of notaries during the war on the Internet at the link. Call the notary, make an appointment, and submit the application to any of those who are currently working. Such an application (for acceptance of inheritance) can even be sent to a notary by mail, for example, if other heirs first filed an application for acceptance of inheritance in another region, where it is inconvenient for you to go now. Therefore, if you are in a war zone or abroad and therefore miss the deadlines for accepting the inheritance, do not worry, they (the deadlines) are temporarily suspended. But if there is an opportunity to do everything now, then it is better not to delay the process.
Author: Vera TARASENKO , lawyer, lawyer
Source: Legal Bulletin of Ukraine