Successions in Kosovo
1 - How can I pass on my assets while I am still alive?
2 - Can I retain some rights associated with the assets I give away? Can I reserve a right of recovery?
3 - How can I ensure my children are treated equally?
Any such transfer and division of property will only be valid if all the descendants of the transferor who would be his legal heirs at the time the transfer is made agree to it. The transfer and division agreement must be made in writing and certified by a judge. Upon verification, the judge will read out the contract and explain its consequences to the parties. If a descendant does not give his consent at that time, he can give it later, in the same form.
The transfer and division will remain valid if a descendant who did not give his consent at the time of the agreement later predeceases the transferor without himself leaving any descendants of his own, or if such descendant renounces his right to inherit, or is deemed ‘unworthy’.
4 - Can I help one of my children without this reducing his/her share in the inheritance?
5 - Can I influence the effects the donation will have on the succession?
6 - Can I give my assets directly to my grandchildren?
7 - How can I protect my spouse or partner?
8 - Can my children renounce the inheritance in advance?
1 - How do I draw up my will?
An individual who wishes to draw up a will must follow certain formalities. Τhe Law on Inheritance allows for the following types of will:
- HOLOGRAPHIC WILL – A will shall valid if it has been written, dated and signed by the testator with his own hand, or been marked with his fingerprint. The date shall mention the day, the month, and the year. The signature must contain the last name of the testator and at least one first name, and be placed at the end of the will.
- A WRITTEN WILL IN THE PRESENCE OF WITNESSES – A literate testator may make a will by signing the document, even if he did not write it himself, in the presence of two witnesses, declaring before them that it is his will. The witnesses will sign the will themselves, and it is appropriate to note on the will that they are signing as witnesses.
- A WILL MADE IN COURT
- If the testator is literate – A will may, at the testator’s request, be drafted by a competent court judge, who shall verify the testator’s identity prior to doing so. The judge will read over the written will to the testator and then inform him of its legal consequences. After the testator has read and signed the will, the judge shall then note on the will itself that the testator has read and signed it in his presence.
- If the testator is illiterate – If the testator cannot read the will drafted by a judge, the latter shall read it out to him in the presence of two witnesses. The testator will then, in the presence of the same witnesses, sign the will or mark his fingerprint on it, after having declared that it is his will. The witnesses then sign the will. The judge will confirm in the court records that all these procedures have been followed. These records should be signed by the testator, the witnesses, and the judge.
- A WILL MADE IN EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES – A testator may declare his last will orally before two witnesses, only if, due to exceptional circumstances, it is not possible to make a written testament.
2 - How can I be sure it will be applied?
3 - How can I find a will that has been filed with a notary?
4 - Which law can I choose?
Under article 147, the Law on Inheritance applies in respect of all persons who reside in Kosovo at the time of their death, irrespective of the place of death and of the location of their property.
However, persons defined in paragraph 1 who are not domiciled in Kosovo may elect, in their will, for the succession law of the country in which they are domiciled to apply instead.
The inheritance of other persons is governed by the laws of the country of which the deceased person was a citizen at the time of his death.
If under the law of another country, the succession procedures of a Kosovo citizen who dies there would be subject to the law of that country, then the succession procedures of citizens of that country who die in Kosovo will be subject to the Kosovo Law on Inheritance.
5 - Can I favour a particular heir? Are there any restrictions?
6 - How can I favour my spouse or partner?
7 - Can I disinherit someone?
8 - Can I make my last will jointly with someone else?
1 - How are intestate successions regulated by law?
2 - Are there particular regulations for specific objects?
Such persons shall obtain joint ownership in equal shares of the household chattels so devolved.
3 - How can I find out if succession procedures have already been initiated?
4 - How can the heirs of the deceased be identified?
5 - How can I prove that I am the heir?
6 - Are there priority heirs? Is there a reserved portion for certain people?
7 - Do I inherit the debts? What happens when there are minor children among the heirs?
8 - Can the surviving spouse inherit?
9 - How are the inventory and valuation of the deceased’s assets carried out?
10 - What are my obligations if I accept an inheritance?
11 - Is it possible to renounce an inheritance or accept it under benefit of inventory?
12 - How do we administer and divide up the assets if there is more than one heir?
The division of an inheritance may be requested by any heir at any reasonable time. This right cannot be waived: any contract whereby an heir renounces his right to request division, and any provision of a will which bans or restricts that right, is null and void.
The estate must be administered and disposed of jointly by the heirs up to the moment of its division. If there is no executor, and the heirs do not agree on the administration of the inheritance, the court, upon the request of one of the heirs, shall appoint an administrator, who shall administer the property on behalf of all the heirs. Alternatively, the court may assign a share of the estate to be administered to each heir. The court may also appoint one of the heirs as administrator. The administrator may, with the permission of the court, effect disposals of assets forming part of the estate if this is authorised in the will, or if this is necessary to pay expenses, or to avoid loss.
Paying inheritance tax
1 - How are succession duties calculated? What is the tax rate for succession duties? / Do tax regulations provide for a threshold below which no tax is payable?
- For the children?
- For the spouse?
- For someone not directly related to the deceased?