Wills and Inheritance

Find out about the types of wills that apply in Argentina plus information on inheritance law...

Final Will and Testament

In a will the individual - the testator - names one or various people to manage their estate and assets, transferring their property to said individual(s) when he or she has deceased. Testators can change their will as often as they like during their life, but it is the last will notarised or validated by two witnesses that is taken into account.
It is recommended that everyone has a will.

Types of wills

The written will is a simple will in which a testator makes a handwritten, signed declaration including the date, in the presence of two or more witnesses. While the signature of a notary is not necessary, it is recommended to avoid complications for the heirs.

The public will is performed before a notary, with two witnesses, and usually includes significant costs due to the formalities of the transaction. Nonetheless, it is the safest way to insure that the will is respected as it was drafted.

The sealed will is also performed before a notary, but in a sealed envelope that serves as proof of record. This type of will requires five witnesses and is appropriate for those who prefer that the will stay as private as possible. It does, however, often present complications, as it is not fully compatible with Argentinean civil law.

Different kinds of inheritors

Legitimate inheritors are established by law, and are the children (descendants), parents (ascendants), spouse, and collateral family members of the deceased until the fourth degree. Siblings, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles are legitimate inheritors. The law establishes exclusively that there must be a pre-relation: it is necessary for an inheritor that supplants another inheritor of inferior pre-relation to exist. For example, when the father of a family dies, his children inherit his estate, excluding the parents of the deceased from inheriting anything.

Forced inheritors are those that possess legitimacy, usually as a spouse, child, parent, grandparent, sibling, cousin or nephew/niece of the deceased. A determined portion of the assets of the deceased cannot be taken from forced inheritors, not even by the deceased in the will. Collateral inheritors are legitimate inheritors, but not forced, and assets can be taken from them if a will exists.

Testamentary Inheritors are those instituted in the will. They are valid if they do not violate the legitimate portions of the inheritors.

In the case that any type of inheritor wishes to sell, transfer or register a property in his or her name, a succession must take place to “transfer the rights from the deceased to the inheritor.

In the case of a succession, probate lawyers as well as criminal-, tax- or internationally-licensed lawyers may be required, according to the complexity of the case. The paperwork involved in an estate case may also involve public accountants, land surveyors, financial advisors or real estate agents. All successions, probate cases, estates, wills and testaments require the involvement or recognition of a notary. In the case of a probate case, notaries work closely with lawyers to complete the process.

Information supplied by Elias Kier Joffe, Esq. Kier Joffe - Attorneys at Law Bouchard Plaza Building Bouchard 557/599 - 20th floor C1106ABG - Ciudad Autonoma de Buenos Aires, Republica Argentina Tel: (011) 5218-3100 (Argentina)/ +1 (212) 300-6377 (USA) email Website