Probate proceedings in Bosnia and Herzegovina „Inheritance Law“ - Areas of professional engagement of the Law Office
In the area of inheritance and family law the Law Office performs the following activities: provides legal advice and representation in divorce disputes, provides legal advice and representation in support disputes, divorces with minor children in which decisions are made on entrusting joint children to upbringing, care and custody, disputes over the division of property acquired during the marriage; representation in proceedings related to deprivation of parental rights, determination of maternity and paternity, and proceedings for deprivation of legal capacity and appointment of a guardian.
The area of representation in inheritance law means initiating probate proceedings – probate hearing, and representation in probate proceedings before a court or notary as a court commissioner until the passing of the decision on inheritance, and then the implementation of the decision before the Tax Administration and competent land registers in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Obtaining the necessary documentation on the ownership of real estate in Bosnia and Herzegovina after the deceased, as well as all other necessary ownership documentation required to conduct probate proceedings. We also provide legal consulting, composing and representation in the process of drafting a contract of lifelong support.
Very often work on these cases contains elements of private international law.
Equality in inheritance in Bosnia and Herzegovina:
All natural persons are under the same conditions equal in inheritance.
Foreigners are equal in inheritance with the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
PROBATE PROCEEDINGS IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
Invitation to a probate hearing
- The court shall determine a hearing for probate proceedings.
- In the summons to the hearing, the court shall inform the interested persons about the initiation of the procedure, about whether a will has already been submitted to it, and shall invite them to immediately submit the written will to the court, that is, a document on oral will or succession contract or some other legal transaction in case of death, if it is with them, or to appoint witnesses of an oral will.
- In the summons, the court shall warn the interested persons that they may, until the first instance decision on inheritance is made, give a statement of acceptance and assignment to one of the co-heirs or a statement on renunciation of inheritance orally at the hearing or in the form of a notarized document, and if they do not come to the hearing or do not give such a statement, they will be considered that they want to be heirs.
- If the testator has left a will or succession contract, the court shall notify about the initiation of probate proceedings and invite to the hearing persons who could legally claim the right to inherit.
- If the testator has appointed an executor of the will, the court shall also inform him/her of the initiation of the proceedings.
Subject matter of probate proceedings
At the probate hearing, the court will discuss all issues important for making a decision in probate proceedings, especially with regard to the right of inheritance, the size of the inheritance share and the right to legacies.
The court decides on the rights, as a rule, since it has enabled the interested persons to give the required statements. During the probate proceedings, interested persons may make statements without the presence of other interested persons and it is not necessary in all cases to allow those persons to express their views on the statements of other interested persons.
The court will decide on the rights of persons who did not come to the hearing, but were duly summoned, according to the information at its disposal, taking into account their written statements that were received until the passing of the decision.
If the court suspects that the person claiming the right to inherit by law is the sole or closest relative of the testator, it may also hear persons whom it considers may have equal or a stronger hereditary right, and it may invite such persons by announcement in accordance with the provisions of Article 235 of this Law.
Declaration of inheritance
Everyone is authorized to, but no one is obliged to give a declaration of inheritance.
A person who has not made a declaration of renunciation of the inheritance is considered to want to be an heir.
A person who has validly made a declaration that he/she accepts the inheritance can no longer renounce it.
The declaration of inheritance is signed by the heir or his/her representative.
If the heir or his/her representative is unable to sign the declaration of inheritance, he/she shall state the reason to the authorized person who will record this in the minutes.
The declaration on the receipt of the inheritance or on the renunciation of the inheritance submitted to the court must be notarized, as well as the power of attorney for giving the declaration of inheritance. The heir may also give this declaration or power of attorney with the same legal effect before the consular representative or diplomatic representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina who performs consular activities.
The statement should state whether the heir accepts or renounces the part that belongs to him/her by law, on the basis of the succession contract or on the basis of the will, or the statement refers to the mandatory part.
If the heir does not state in the inheritance declaration whether his/her declaration refers to what belongs to him/her by law, by succession contract or by will, or as a mandatory part, the declaration shall be deemed to apply to the inheritance on any grounds.
The court will not request a declaration of inheritance from anyone, but the heir who wishes to make a declaration may do so orally before the probate court on the record, that is, by handing over the document referred to in paragraph 6 of this Article to the probate court.
When giving a declaration of renunciation of inheritance, the authorized person will warn the heir that he/she can renounce the inheritance only in his/her own name, or also in the name of his/her descendants.
STATUTORY HEIRS in Bosnia and Herzegovina
HEREDITARY ORDERS in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Circle of legal heirs
- Unless otherwise provided by this Law, on the basis of the law, the deceased shall be inherited by: all his/her descendants, his/her adopted children and their descendants, his/her spouse, his/her parents, his/her adoptive parents, his/her siblings and their descendants, his/her grandparents and their descendants, his/her other ancestors.
- The persons referred to in paragraph (1) of this Article shall inherit according to hereditary orders.
- The heirs of a closer hereditary order shall exclude from the inheritance a person of a further hereditary order.
Extramarital partner as a statutory heir
- Pursuant to the law, the testator is also inherited by his/her extramarital partner, who is equal to the spouse in the right of inheritance.
- For the purpose of this Law, an extramarital union is considered to be a union of life between a woman and a man in accordance with the provisions of the law governing family relations which ended with the testator’s death.
First hereditary order
Descendants and spouse of the testator
- The testator is inherited primarily by his/her children and his/her spouse.
- Heirs of the first hereditary order inherit in equal parts.
- When the testator has no descendants, the spouse shall not inherit in the first hereditary order.
The right to represent
The part of the estate that would have belonged to a child who died earlier if he/she had survived the testator is inherited by his/her children, the testator’s grandchildren in equal parts, and if one of the grandchildren died before the testator, the part that would have belonged to him/her if he/she had been alive at the time of the testator’s death is inherited by his/her children, the testator’s great-grandchildren in equal parts, and so on as long as there are testator’s descendants.
Second hereditary order
Spouse and parents of the deceased
- The estate of the deceased who has left no descendants shall be inherited by his/her spouse and his/her parents.
- The parents of the deceased shall inherit one half of the estate in equal parts, and the other half of the estate shall be inherited by the spouse of the deceased.
- If the spouse is not left behind by the deceased, the parents of the deceased shall inherit the entire estate in equal parts.
Siblings and their descendants
- If one of the testator’s parents died before the testator, the part of the estate that would have belonged to him/her if he had survived the testator is inherited by his/her children (brothers and sisters of the testator), his/her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and his/her descendants, according to the rules applicable in case the deceased is inherited by his/her children and other descendants.
- If both of the testator’s parents died before the testator, the part of the estate that would have belonged to each of them if he/she had survived the testator shall be inherited by their descendants, according to the provisions of paragraph (1) of this Article.
- In all cases, the testator’s siblings by father’s side inherit equal parts of the father’s part of the estate, brothers and sisters by mother’s side inherit equal parts the mother’s part, and born siblings inherit in equal parts with brothers and sisters by father’s side only the father’s part, and with brothers and sisters by mother’s side only the mother’s part.
Inheriting one parent who died without descendants
If one of the testator’s parents died before the testator, and he/she did not leave any descendants, the part of the estate that would have belonged to him/her if he/she had survived the testator is inherited by the other parent, and if this one died before the testator too, his/her descendants inherit what would belong to both parents, according to the provision of Article 12 of this Law.
Third inheritance order
Grandparents of the deceased
- A testator who leaves no descendants, no spouse, no parents, and they have not left any descendants, is inherited by his/her grandparents.
- One half of the estate is inherited by the grandfather and grandmother on the father’s side, and the other half by the grandfather and grandmother on the mother’s side.
The rights of grandparents of the same lineage
- Grandparents of the same lineage inherit in equal parts.
- If one of the ancestors of the lineage referred to in paragraph (1) of this Article died before the testator, the part of the estate that would have belonged to him/her if he/she had survived the testator shall be inherited by his/her children and his/her descendants, according to the rules that apply to the case when the deceased is inherited by his/her children and other descendants.
- In everything else, the rules according to which the testator’s parents and their descendants inherit shall apply to the hereditary right of the grandparents of one lineage and their children.
Frequently asked questions about the probate proceedings in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Who are the mandatory heirs in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
The mandatory heirs are: the children of the testator, his/her adoptive children from full adoption and his/her spouse. Other descendants of the deceased, his/her adoptive children from incomplete adoption and their descendants, his/her parents and siblings are mandatory heirs only if they are permanently incapable of work and do not have the necessary means of subsistence. The testator’s descendants, his/her adopted children and their descendant as well as his/her marital or extra-marital partner have the right to mandatory part which amounts to a half of the part that would belong to each of them according to the legal hereditary order. The mandatory part or the other mandatory heirs amounts to the third of their legal part.
How do I make a will in Bosnia and Herzegovina ?
A will can be made to any person who has reached the age of 15 and is capable of reasoning, and it is a document that determines who has the right to dispose of property in the event of death. However, even then there are certain legal restrictions. Namely, according to the law, a certain circle of persons is entitled to the necessary part regardless of the will written by the testator. In order to obtain the necessary part, the heirs must file an objection stating that they do not acknowledge the will, after which the non-litigation court or notary instructs them to initiate civil proceedings for evidence. A will is valid if it is made in the form determined by law and under the conditions provided by law. A will can be written and signed in handwriting, it is desirable that the will written in handwriting contains the date of composition.
What is determined in the probate proceedings in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
The probate proceedings in Bosnia and Herzegovina are conducted before a court or notary as a court commissioner. The composition of the estate, the heirs behind the deceased and the rights that belong to individual heirs should be determined in the probate proceedings in BiH. If there are no disputable elements, the probate procedure lasts for a short time, but if there is a dispute between the heirs over the inheritance, then the probate proceedings are terminated and the heirs are referred to litigation, which can significantly prolong the entire probate proceedings. Inheritance in some cases can be a very complex procedure, so the probate proceedings can last for years, especially if it is a matter of contesting a will from statutory heirs, disputes with necessary heirs, disputes over proving extramarital community, etc.
What is inheritance law in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
Inheritance law regulates the legal rules and relations that arise after the death of the testator. Inheritance rights are acquired at the time of the testator’s death, by law or by will. Every person can waive that right. Inheritance transfers all rights and obligations from the testator to his/her heirs. If the testator has not left a will, his/her legal heirs will inherit him/her according to the hereditary order, with the rule that the heirs of the closer hereditary order exclude from the inheritance a person of the further hereditary order.
How is the estate (the estate mass) after the deceased determined?
It often happens that after someone’s death, the heirs have to investigate which property enters the estate mass (the estate). The subject matter of inheritance are things and rights that belong to a natural person. When it comes to real estate, the estate includes all the real estate of the testator, regardless of whether they are registered in the land register and regardless of where they were located. In the case of the duly registered real estate, an excerpt from the land register is sufficient as proof of ownership, and if the real estate is not registered in the land register, the ownership must be proven by authentic documents in your possession. When a final decision on inheritance is obtained in probate proceedings, it is necessary to implement the decision on inheritance before the competent authorities.