Probate Process and Inheritance Law

A probate process is a court procedure carried out by notaries as authorised representatives of the district court. The notary responsible is called a court commissioner when carrying out this function.

Each inheritance case has a probate procedure. The aim of this procedure is:

  • To transfer the inheritance to the rightful heir/ heiress in court proceedings,
  • To secure the rights of minors or of persons for whom a guardian has been appointed 
  • To oversee the fulfilment of the deceased’s last wishes.

We will gladly assist you before the formal start of the probate process and/or before the first step of the court proceedings!

Heirs’ Probate Representative

The probate process is executed either by the court commissioner or by a probate representative. Thus, the heirs can by mutual agreement select a notary or solicitor who will have the power of attorney and execute the probate process in written form directly with the court. This can help expedite the handling of the inheritance while putting the process in trustworthy hands. We are able to represent your interests and advise you on a much more personal level than the court would do. 

We would be happy to support you in the role of probate representative.
We give you sound advice and offer moral and practical support.

Representative for Recipients of Compulsory Portions

It is also possible for individual heirs or persons entitled to a compulsory portion to assign a representative to act on their behalf in the probate process.

Inheritance law regulates who is entitled to the assets of the deceased and who will have to assume the debts of the deceased.

It makes a difference here whether there is a will or whether the intestacy rules apply. In case of a will, the claims of the so-called persons entitled to a compulsory portion (parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren and spouses as well as registered partners) have to be taken into account.

We gladly advise persons entitled to a compulsory portion regarding their claims and represent them in communications with the heirs and court commissioner.

Declaration of Acceptance of the Inheritance

In order to accept the inheritance, the heir/heiress has to sign a so-called declaration of acceptance. We have to distinguish here between an unconditional and a conditional acceptance.

If an unconditional acceptance is signed, the heir/heiress is liable for all debts and for the realisation of the bequest with his/her own assets to their full extent. The heir/heiress is also liable if he/she did not know about the claims and liabilities and even if the debts are higher than the bequest itself. It is only advisable to submit an unconditional acceptance if the heir/heiress has detailed knowledge about the asset situation of the deceased. It is not possible to convert an unconditional acceptance into a conditional acceptance once it has been submitted.

Nevertheless, heirs/heiresses choose the unconditional acceptance in a substantial number of cases, because the probate proceedings are usually less expensive than with the conditional acceptance, especially if the heir/heiress has a good overview of the assets of the deceased and/or was liable for debts even before the death of the testator. The conditional acceptance leads to a limited liability of the heir/heiress. The liability is restricted to the value of the bequest. The value of the bequest / the liability limit will be estimated by official experts.

Will and Codicil

The last will determines the persons who are entitled to individual assets of the deceased (codicil) or the persons who should assume the bequest in whole or in part with all proprietary rights and obligations of the testator (last will and testament).

All last wills that have been written in our presence will be deposited with the Austrian Central Will Register. This will ensure that the last will of the testator will be found. Only in cases where the wishes of the testator are identical with the intestacy rules and where there are no assets that are difficult to distribute, it is not necessary to have a last will. In all other cases experience has shown that a will is important and can save the heirs expenses and trouble.

We gladly advise you on all matters concerning inheritance law, particularly on the plausible splitting of assets, on questions concerning compulsory portions and on social law.