Wills and Inheritance Law in Russia

Information about how to make a will in Russia and the laws pertaining to inheritance...

Anyone who has any property to distribute can make a will. When a person who has not made a will dies, by default the law distributes property according to the rules of intestate succession. The intestacy laws state that property is distributed to the heirs of the deceased as follows:

  • To the spouse, parents and children equally (if the children predecease the deceased, then the deceased's grandchildren). If there are no heirs at this level, then
  • To the grandparents, brothers and sisters of the deceased, equally, and so on

In this case, the most obvious reason for creating a will would be to change the default distribution rules described above. If changes want to be made, those to whom a distribution is made and the amount of distribution are all customisable.

Types of Will

There is only one type of will.

The law requires the use of a notary to certify the will, or, if there is not a notary, the use of two witnesses in special circumstances (in a life-threatening situation). However, the use of witnesses instead of a notary may make the will subject to court proceedings in regard to its validity, that is the circumstances under which the document was created.

The use of a notary is the preferred option for drawing up a will. The notary can draft a will and certify it. Any notary is suitable, and they can easily be found online. If the testator has significant assets or a less than simple scheme of distribution, it is advisable to consult an attorney as well.

The Law and Foreigners

Part 3 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation is the applicable law for inheritance matters. There are no restrictions for foreigners: the same rules on wills and inheritance apply to both Russian and foreign citizens.

Taxes

There is no tax on inherited property which applies regardless of the residency status of the individual.

Inheritance Laws

Following the death of the testator, the beneficiaries under the will have six months to submit an "Application on Acceptance of Inheritance". This application should be brought to the assigned notary (based on the official registration of the deceased). The notary issues a certificate to the beneficiary, which then can be taken to the appropriate register to register a change in title of the property.

It is important to know that once the six-month deadline has passed, inheriting the deceased's estate is not possible, unless the court reinstates the term for inheritance for good reasons.

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