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One of our fields of expertise is formalizing inheritances. Sometimes amicable interaction with a notary in the process of formalizing the inheritance rights of our clients ends up in court proceedings where one of the beneficiaries or those claiming the right to inheritance find themselves dissatisfied with the means of division or claims being entitled to more.

We specialize in the following disputes:

  • disputing wills;
  • to restore the time period for inheritance to be accepted and recognition of accepted inheritance;
  • to be recognized as a beneficiary;
  • to establish the fact that inheritance has been accepted;
  • to divide a portion of inheritance;
  • to recognize a beneficiary as unworthy.

This category of cases requires a well-though-out approach and preparatory work. A lawyer must be consulted as early as in the pre-action stage to increase one's chances of winning. In any case, the first place to start is with a consultation regarding the results of a close study of the documents and a detailed chat with a potential principal. We definitely are sure to warn our clients if their position is weak and the prospect of losing is high.

It's not always clear after a beneficiary has died how exactly property will be divided up between beneficiaries. Disputes often arise around who is going to inherit what.

Here is an example from our practice: after a citizen's death, his mother submits documents to accept the inheritance. The man has a son who doesn't know that his father has died. Soon his mother dies as well. The mother doesn't manage to formalize the inheritance (to obtain a certificate of inheritance). She leaves a will in the name of the person's unknown relatives. The beneficiary himself finds out about this too late and he has to go to court to restore the time period of accession to the inheritance and dispute the will.

Quite a lot of examples such as these have taken place in our practice!

Disputes concerning inheritance also arise between loved ones, relatives who know each other well, and beneficiaries who haven't met each other before. In this article, we will take a look at several such situations:

Disputes between intestacy beneficiaries (the beneficiary doesn't have a will)

By law, intestacy beneficiaries inherit in equal shares (article 1122 p. 1 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation).

However, it must be kept in mind that certain details exist: the right of a surviving spouse to 1/2 of the share of jointly acquired property (unless the spouses haven’t signed a prenuptial agreement). In this case, the spouse share is excluded from the mass of the inheritance (article 1150 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation).

A separate category of disputes between intestacy beneficiaries is disputes related to the will of the beneficiary. Quite a few different courses of action can be taken in this case. Usually, the party that disagrees with the last will of the deceased tries to prove the invalidity of the will in court. Serving as one of the reasons for such recognition is establishment of the fact that the beneficiary was legally incompetent or wrote a will while under the influence of confusion, deceit, or violence. In the last case, the beneficiary who committed actions such as these can be recognized as unworthy (article 1117 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation).

Disputing estates without a beneficiary (article 1151 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation)

The property of a deceased person is considered as having no beneficiary in the following cases:

  • there are no beneficiaries by law and/or according to a will;
  • none of the beneficiaries have the right to the inheritance or all of the beneficiaries have been barred from inheritance (article 1117 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation);
  • none of the beneficiaries have accepted the inheritance;
  • all of the beneficiaries have refused the inheritance and meanwhile none of them have indicated that they are refusing inheritance in favor of the other beneficiary (article 1158 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation).

Such disputes also arise when the legal beneficiary or beneficiary based on the will was unaware of the death of the bequeather and thus has not taken any measures to accept the inheritance. Then they file for acceptance of the inheritance at the notary nearest to the location at which they intend to initiate the inheritance and get a refusal from the notary because they missed the time period of accession to the inheritance and petition in court to have the inheritance accession time period restored. Meanwhile, they must prove that the deadline for accession to inheritance was missed for respectable reasons and the beneficiary took all measures that they could’ve taken to have to accede to the inheritance as soon as they found out about the person's death.

Disputes on inheritance received by representation

It happens that a beneficiary that was supposed to gain a share of property doesn’t manage to receive it in time (accede to the property) due to their own death. Instead of them, the inheritance goes to their children, which is known as “inheritance by representation” (article 1146 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation).

Sometimes, the other intestacy beneficiaries don't know of such a possibility and engage in court action to exclude such people from the list of beneficiaries. However, the law envisages such a right. If a citizen finds themself in such a situation, they are fully entitled to visit a notary and submit a form to accept an inheritance by representation. The law is on their side.

All of the cases described above are a practice which has accumulated out of many hundreds of such cases and most often have a clear algorithm for resolution and action procedure.

An adept inheritance cases lawyer will not only defend your rights and tell you about possible courses of action but will also help you react in a timely fashion in the event that any breaches of the law exist. This is important since if you will be able to direct your attention to these issues on time, they will be eliminated as effectively as possible, and you will be able to retain your peace of mind. Thus, benefits are compatible with your legal services expenses. It's worthwhile to invest thousands in order to save millions.

Consultations can be conducted in person at our office as well as remotely online. Write us or give us a call. We are always in touch!

Inheritance Disputes

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