Succession in Russia

by | Jul 28, 2014

Succession in Russia is possible by will and operation of law. The freedom of will is limited. To acquire the estate the heirs shall accept it. Succession in Russia is the only way to transfer property in case of death. The only way to change the order of succession established by law in Russia is to make a will. The freedom of will is limited by compulsory heirship rules and spouse’ part in the joint property. For more details please follow…

Order of Succession in Russia in Compliance with Domestic Law

Succession in Russia is the only way to transfer property in the case of death. Deceased’s estate (property, rights and obligations) shall pass to other persons by universal succession, i.e. in an unchanged, single form at the same time. It is an important fact that heirs have no right to waive part of inherited property. For example, it is impossible to accept deceased’s assets and to reject debts.

Rights and liabilities which are connected with the personality of the deceased shall not be included in the estate. In particular it will be the following rights:

  • the right to alimony,
  • right to damages for harm inflicted to the person’s life or health, and also
  • rights and liabilities prohibited for succession by law,

For example, rights arisen from the following agreements shall not be inherited:

  • gratuitous use agreements,
  • agency agreements,
  • contracts of commission agency.

The following personal incorporeal rights shall not be included in the estate:

  • right to the name,
  • right of authorship,
  • other personal non-property rights and intangible wealth.

Inheritance includes both properties situated in Russia and abroad. Whereby if testator’s last abode is situated abroad, only real property (immovable), situated in Russia, will be inherited by Russian law.

Succession in Russia may be provided by will and by operation of law. In the case of succession by operation of law all legal heirs, who are called upon to inherit in compliance with the priority, shall inherit in equal shares. The order of succession may be changed by composing a will which has a priority under succession by operation of law.

Inheritance by Will as the Way of Structuring of Succession in Russia

The will as the way of structuring of Succession in Russia shall be created personally and contain dispositions of only one person. It cannot be created through a representative and it cannot be created by two persons or more . As a general rule, the will shall be made in writing and attested by a notary. Failure to observe these rules causes the invalidity of the will.

The deceased can dispose of his/her property or a portion thereof by means of one or several wills . A will may contain dispositions relating to any property, in particular, a property that a testator might acquire after issuing a will .

The testator has the following rights:

  • to transfer property at his own discretion to any persons,
  • to define in any way the shares of the heirs in the inheritance,
  • to deprive of the inheritance several or all legal heirs, not explaining the reasons for such deprivation,
  • to include into the will other orders.

Nevertheless, irrespectively of the provisions of the will the following compulsory heirs excluded from the will automatically gain at least half of the share each of them is entitled to in the case of legal Succession in Russia :

  • minor or disabled children of the testator,
  • disabled spouse and parents,
  • disabled dependants of the testator.

Spouse’s Right to ½ Part of the Deceased Property

The property acquired by the spouses during their marriage shall be their joint property according to the Family Code of the Russian Federation . The shares of the spouses in their joint property are considered as equal, unless the alternative is provided by marriage contract. Therefore, in case the spouses do not agreed otherwise, the deceased’s spouse automatically gains half of jointly owned property. The second part of this common joined property shall be divided between all heirs by will or by operation of law.

Inheritance Acceptance as the Step of Succession in Russia

Inheritance acceptance is the important step of Succession in Russia. To acquire the inheritance the heirs shall accept it. There are two methods of inheritance acceptance :

  1. filing an application to the notary who maintain the inheritance case and
  2. making implicative actions.

The implicative actions will be made if the heir:

  • has commenced possession or administration of assets of the inheritance;
  • has taken measures for preserving assets of the estate, protecting it against third persons’ encroachments or claims;
  • has made expenses on his account towards maintenance of assets of the estate;
  • has paid the testator’s debts or received from third persons amounts of money payable to the testator.

The term for inheritance acceptance consists of 6 months after the date of the testator’s death. The heir may accept the assets after this term in two cases:

  1. reinitiating the term for inheritance acceptance by the court order
  2. without applying to the court if other hers have no objections.

The inheritance by minors has some special features:

  • assets to be transferred to the minors may be accepted by their legal representatives (for example by the parents alive),
  • in certain cases the disposal of the property owned by minors cannot be performed without preliminary consent of the guardianship agency.