Open an inheritance in Ukraine when you are abroad: remote inheritance

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Receiving inheritance in Ukraine. Legal advice
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Quite often, heirs, at the time the inheritance is opened, find themselves situated far abroad or, can’t make their way to Ukraine to claim their inheritance. The situations and reasons can be diverse, and it matters little whether the heir is a foreigner or a citizen of Ukraine; the inheritance procedure, along with its associated timelines, remains universally standardized.

As a general rule, the deadline for accepting the inheritance is set at six months from the date the inheritance is opened (the passing of the testator). While exceptions exist, allowing for the establishment of additional deadlines, the inheritance process is also contingent on factors such as the presence of a will and other heirs in line. However, this article centers on a different aspect – what to do if you're unable to personally come to Ukraine to formalize the inheritance?

If you find yourself in a situation where personal presence in Ukraine is unfeasible for claiming the inheritance, there's no need for despair. Reach out to our adept lawyers, specialists in this field. We stand ready to provide you with professional assistance, addressing all matters related to obtaining the inheritance remotely.

You may also like: Inheritance Taxes in Ukraine

Inheriting Property in Ukraine as a Foreigner: A Successful Case of Remote Inheritance

We were contacted by a client, a U.S. citizen seeking guidance on the inheritance process in Ukraine due to the deceased leaving behind real estate. The client approached us four months after the inheritance was initiated, armed with a will and a set of intricate questions related to the inheritance. Following consultations, we engaged a trusted notary and efficiently gathered all necessary documents in the U.S.

As it turned out, certain documents displayed disparities in the surname of the deceased. This discrepancy arose because the deceased had migrated to the U.S. from the Middle East, and the transliteration of the surname in the U.S. was recorded based on oral communication at the time. By rectifying these issues, aligning all details with the notary, and obtaining a non-resident code, we successfully completed the inheritance process within six months. The key to our success lies in experience and the ability to adeptly organize the entire procedure.

As our practice demonstrates, if you are abroad, there is no imperative need to travel to Ukraine to inherit assets. The complete document package can be assembled and presented by a representative to initiate the inheritance case. Essentially, this process mirrors submitting documents through a representative to a notary who has already opened the inheritance case at the behest of other heirs. To remotely accept an inheritance, you can grant authorization to our legal professionals.

Which Documents Should Be Prepared to Claim an Inheritance?

To accept an inheritance, the following documents should be prepared:

  1. Inheritance acceptance statement – notarized and apostilled or legalized if you are abroad.
  2. Copy of the heir's passport and identification code – for non-residents, it is advisable to prepare a notarized copy of the passport with an apostille or legalization.
  3. Death certificate of the deceased.
  4. Documents confirming the kinship with the deceased, such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc.
  5. Will, if one was made (original).
  6. Power of attorney, notarized and apostilled (legalized) if issued abroad.

While these are essential documents, specific circumstances may necessitate additional paperwork. Further details are outlined below.

For example, if the heir renounces the inheritance, a notarized renunciation is necessary. In cases where a distant relative inherits, additional documents may be needed to confirm their familial ties. Consequently, each situation and inheritance scenario requires a lawyer's analysis and the coordination of a comprehensive document package.

Taking this into consideration, at the initiation of each inheritance process, our lawyers typically conduct a consultation to:

  • Understand all the circumstances of the case.
  • Identify the circle of heirs.
  • Confirm the existence of an open inheritance case.
  • Assess the client's prospects for inheritance.

Following such a consultation, a more detailed work plan can be developed, outlining stages and budgets accordingly.

What to Do if You Lack the Documents for the Inheritance Process?

There are situations where certain documents required for the inheritance process are missing, and there's no need to panic. The absence of specific documents should not be a hindrance. The solution lies in the restoration of missing documents through legal mandates, and we are ready to assist you in this matter. For example, with proper authorization, we have successfully obtained duplicates of identification codes, legal documents, technical passports, extracts from the BTI (Bureau of Technical Inventory), and other necessary documents for our clients.

In such cases, our team is prepared to provide the necessary assistance and resolve the issue, enabling you to legally receive the inheritance even in the absence of certain documents.

Timelines for Initiating Inheritance and What to Do if Deadlines are Missed

As mentioned at the beginning of our article, the inheritance process has a timeline of six months from the moment of the deceased's passing. We recommend keeping this timeframe in mind and attempting to join the inheritance or initiate the inheritance case within these limits. Of course, there are options for an extended inheritance period, which can be granted according to Part 2, Article 1270 of the Civil Code of Ukraine. This provision allows for an additional three months for inheritance acceptance if it depends on the acceptance of previous inheritance queues.

It is also possible to restore a missed deadline through legal proceedings or with the consent of other heirs. Therefore, even if you have missed the deadline but still wish to participate in the inheritance, there are possibilities. However, to understand whether inheritance is still possible, it is advisable to seek consultation from lawyers. For instance, one individual approached our legal team wanting to inherit property. The heir had passed away five years ago, and other, closer heirs had already inherited the property. Consequently, the client had limited prospects for inheritance.

If you are abroad and unable to come to Ukraine to handle the inheritance process, it is essential to have reliable local partners who can represent you and carry out all necessary actions. In such a situation, you can delegate this matter to us. We will:

  • Analyze your situation and documents, providing comprehensive information about the inheritance procedure, the order of succession, risks, and opportunities you may encounter.
  • Develop a roadmap and provide details about the steps and expenses you can expect at each stage.
  • Assist in restoring certain lost documents if possible.
  • Help initiate an inheritance case with a notary, guiding the process to the full inheritance of the property.
  • Assist with tax payments, re-registration of the inheritance, etc.
  • Protect your interests in case of claims or disputes.

By reaching out to us, you can be confident that your interests will be safeguarded, and all necessary steps for inheritance will be carried out within the bounds of the law and on schedule.

The cost of the legal service for inheritance processing can be found here.

Publication date: 09/11/2023

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