Opening an inheritance / Establishing heirs / Inheritance assets / Certificate of inheritance / Vacant inheritances / How we can help you
Opening a legacy
At the time of a person’s death, the inheritance is opened, regardless of the date of registration of the death in the civil status registers and regardless of the knowledge of the person’s death by his or her potential heirs.
At the time of a person’s death, according to the law, a number of people may be potential heirs, known in legal language as successors (e.g. surviving spouse, children, parents, brothers and sisters, etc.).
If there is a will, even a person who is a complete stranger to the deceased can be a potential heir.
For more information on the effects of a will please visit the Wills section.
Each potential heir (successor) has the right to choose between: (i) accepting the inheritance and becoming heir or (ii) refusing the inheritance due to him, becoming a stranger to the inheritance.
No person can be forced to accept and/or refuse a particular inheritance.
Acceptance of the inheritance is made within 1 year from the date of the opening of the succession (date of death of the person whose inheritance is in question), generally by means of a declaration made before a notary public, recorded in an electronic register managed by the Chamber of Notaries Public.
If several people accept the succession, the law determines who actually becomes the heir.
For example, if the inheritance is accepted by both children and grandchildren, only children will become heirs; if the inheritance is accepted by both children and siblings, only children will become heirs, etc.
The determination of heirs can be made either before a notary public or in a court proceeding.
Inheritance is not only the deceased’s property, but also his obligations.
This mechanism is explained by the fact that the discussion of a succession entails a transfer of the deceased’s estate, which includes both rights and obligations that can be valued in money.
In order to protect the rights of heirs, the law limits their liability for inherited obligations to the value of the property acquired.
In other words, no heir can, by accepting an inheritance, find himself in a situation where he acquires obligations of greater value than the assets received.
The assets and obligations forming the subject of the inheritance are determined on the basis of supporting documents either by the notary public or by a court of law.
Certificate of inheritance
When the notarial inheritance procedure is completed, the notary public issues the certificate of inheritance.
This document is the document that certifies the following information:
- the fact that on a certain date a person died;
- the fact that the deceased’s estate included a number of assets (e.g. land, houses, money, shares, etc.);
- the fact that the person concerned was inherited by the persons indicated in the certificate, in the shares indicated (e.g. 1/2, 1/4 etc.).
The certificate of inheritance is the document that proves the transmission of the property that belonged to the deceased to his heirs.
If a person dies and has no heirs, the inheritance is deemed to be vacant.
In this case, the rights and obligations of the deceased are transferred to the Romanian State and/or to the administrative territorial units (commune, town or municipality).
Vacant inheritance is established by a certificate of inheritance vacancy issued by the competent notary public.
How we can help you
Our lawyers can advise and assist you when you are debating the succession of a person you wish to inherit:
- advice on your rights as an heir;
- advice on the choice of the competent notary public;
- assistance when accepting the succession;
- assistance and/or representation in obtaining all the necessary documents for the succession proceedings;
- assistance and/or legal representation throughout the succession proceedings, either before the notary public or the courts;
- assistance in obtaining the certificate of inheritance.
Further information on legal inheritance