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You can do it in the court, but notaries make it easier and cheaper: some details of inheriting process and decision of the Supreme Court

03rd November 2016  
“Rossiyskaya Gazeta” has been following a complicated dispute on a hereditary cause, where the destiny of a three-room apartment whose owner did not leave a will had to be solved by the Supreme Court.

Litigations, where inheritance is involved, occur quite often. One inheritance out of three, if the deceased did not leave a will, becomes a subject of litigation — these data are quoted in one of the articles published in “Rossiyskaya Gazeta.” The inheritance cause, which reached the Supreme Court, did not have any will either. An owner of a three-room apartment died, but he left no orders for the case of his death. That is why the heirs had to resort to court to determine who of them was entitled to get the property of the deceased, and what ways they had to follow to the get their shares in the succession. One of the heirs submitted the inheritance acceptance documents to the notary. In the meantime, the interests of a minor heir were represented by a mother who tried to prove that her son accepted the inheritance de facto, so he was also entitled to have a share in the inherited apartment.

Acceptance of the inheritance is a unilateral volition act by a person entitled to be the successor and it’s aiming at getting the inheritance which is due to him, to be accomplished in the prescribed order and time in manner defined by law.

A member of the Federal Chamber of Notaries Board Alexandra Ignatenko commented this kind of situation in the interview to Vesti FM: “The Law implies two options for accepting the inheritance. The first one involves an inheritance acceptance application which is to be submitted to the notary. The second one consists in getting de facto into the inheritance.”

In the second option, the heir should prove in court that he actually took possession of the inherited property, meaning he used it within the time that the law defines for adoption. 

The fact of acceptance of inheritance should always be confirmed by documents. The notary shall issue documents on the inheritance title in an indisputable manner. However, in the case of actual acceptance of the inheritance you can never avoid a trial.

“All of us know courts take a lot of time to consider a case. People often have to make additional expenses for lawyers, and if it involves a claim, they have to pay the government tax, which is much higher than notary’s fee”, Alexandra Ignatenko said. 

The heir, who accepts the inheritance using one of these ways, is recognized as the owner from the day of inheritance opening (day of the testator’s death). 

Undoubtedly, it is better to register your inheritance titles with a notary. The law defines sufficient term for this purpose: “It comes to six months from the date of opening the inheritance, i.e. six months from the date of the testator’s death. During this period you are to submit an application of the inheritance acceptance to the notary,” Ignatenko said. 

By the way, you shouldn’t forget there is no inheritance tax in Russia. The heirs would pay only the state fee for the issuance of certificate of inheritance. Only heirs who resided in the property in question prior and after the testator’s death are exempt from payment of the state fee. 

If someone wishes to make certain actions related to their property, for instance an inherited apartment, they have to possess appropriate documents that confirm their title. So, you can actually accept inheritance without registering the title, but this would make it impossible to undertake any actions with the property in future. That’s why it’s better not to lose time, but go to the notary, especially as now notaries work on a one-stop shop basis and they can even help you with gathering the necessary documents.

The Russian Federation offers a special programme for registration of hereditary cases. You can go to any notary operating within the notarial district you live in and apply for registration of your succession titles. You need to submit into the inheritance dossier the documents that confirm what the inheritance consists of. And nowadays the notary is able to help any citizen by requesting certain documents on his own", Alexandra Ignatenko stressed.