Wills and Inheritance in Azerbaijan
Find out key information regarding the types of will available in Azerbaijan, and how to go about making one...
A will must be made by the testator, who must be at least 18 years old and fully aware of their actions and activities.
The will must specify both the place and time. It can either be drawn up and signed by the testator or by a notary from the words of the testator. For the latter, it must be read and signed by the testator in the presence of a notary and two witnesses.
The following are not allowed:
- A testator's representative cannot make a will
- A will can not be made by two or more people together, with the exception of a husband and wife who have the right to make a will together. It can be made at the request of either the husband or the wife; however, the will must be made while both are alive
Different Types of Wills
There are several ways of drawing up a valid will in Azerbaijan.
The testator can choose to draw up a will in simple written form and keep it at home. Or, the testator can seal a will in an envelope and then deposit it at a notary office. The will must be written in person and signed in the presence of three witnesses. The presence of the witnesses is determined by their signatures on the envelope, which must be verified by the notary.
A will can be closed or open. Witnesses know the content of an open will, but they may not disclose the contents to anyone. Witnesses are not familiar with the content of a closed will, however, the will must be prepared in the presence of the witnesses. To certify a closed will, the witnesses have to specify that they were present while the testator drafted the will, but that they do not know its content.
Process of Making a Will
A will can be written by hand or by using a computer. If a computer or other technical means is used, the following apply:
- The will must be drawn up and signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses:
- These witnesses must certify that the will was made in their presence, using a computer (or other technical means)
- The witnesses sign the will immediately after the testator. Each witness must write their name, surname and place of residence
- A will cannot be witnessed by the following people: under 18s, anyone who is found to be incompetent, heirs of the will and their ascending and descending relatives - sisters, brothers, spouses
- If for some reason the testator cannot sign the will, they can request that it is signed by another individual. A reason must be given why the testator could not sign the will
For a notary to approve a will, the following documents are required:
- Identity document
- Certificate which proves legitimacy on the territory of Azerbaijan, for example, Certificate of Temporary Residence
Changing a Will
A will may be cancelled or modified at any time by the testator. Creating a new will automatically cancels the existing document.
Certifying a Will
A will may be certified not only by a notary public, but also by other officials, especially when the testator is in a location where there is no notary, for example, by a doctor.
In Azerbaijan, inheritance law is governed by Articles 1133-1325 of the Civil Code of the Azerbaijan Republic. There is no inheritance tax per se. However, the following applies:
- Tax-exempt income includes an inheritance which amounts to AZN 20,000
- Residents or non-residents who inherit property in Azerbaijan will pay income tax if the value of the inherited property is above AZN 20,000
- If the inheritance is from a family member, it is exempt from income tax
- For questions and answers related to inheritance from the website of the Ministry of Justice: Click here