Execution of the last will and testament
If the deceased person has direct heirs, an outside party can only inherit the deceased person's property as a beneficiary of their last will and testament. The last will and testament is a legal document, which the testator has drawn up to stipulate the transfer of his/her property to parties other than his/her legal heirs.
If your family member did not mention the matter while they were alive, the family must look through his/her papers for a last will and testament. The last will and testament may also be in a bank vault or in the possession of legal counsel used by the deceased person. The last will and testament must include the signatures of two witnesses who have been present at the same time.
If the deceased does not have heirs and has not written a will, the State Treasury will see to the processing of the estate.
If you are a beneficiary in a last will or testament, you have a duty to participate in the distribution of the estate in the manner determined by the person that left the last will or testament.
You are a stakeholder in the estate if you are a general legatee and the deceased left you a sizeable share of their property. You must then participate in the estate inventory meeting or send someone to represent you.
If, on the other hand, the deceased person has specified that you will receive a certain piece of their property, you are a special legatee and, thus, not a stakeholder in the estate.
A copy of the last will and testament will be attached to the estate inventory deed. During the distribution of inheritance, the stakeholders in the estate are obligated to act in accordance with what is stipulated in the last will and testament, if a legatee so requires.
If the deceased did not have heirs, but he/she had a last will and testament, the will must be submitted for information to the State Treasury.
As an heir you can dispute the last will and testament, by bringing a legal action against the legatee in a district court within six months of being made aware of the last will and testament: the court may declare the last will and testament void if it is established during the court proceedings that there is a legal basis for this.
The last will and testament may be void, if the testator was in such poor health at the time the last will and testament was written, that he/she did not understand what he/she was doing or if he/she was pressured or persuaded in the matter.
The last will and testament can also be void, if the will has been made or written incorrectly. A witness to the last will and testament cannot be a close relative or spouse of the testator or a beneficiary of the will.
As a direct heir you have the right to a legal share of the inheritance, even if the last will and testament stipulates that the inheritance or a share thereof will be transferred to other direct heirs. The legal share is half of what you would inherit if there were no will.
Submit your request for your legal share to the legatee within six months of being made aware of the last will and testament.