Inheritance matters

Inheritance from abroad: legal services for receiving inheritance from overseas

Inheritance from abroad: legal services for receiving inheritance from overseas.

The primary goal of Lawyer in Europe is to ensure that our clients can successfully claim and secure an inheritance abroad. We provide our services to clients regardless of their place of residence. Our lawyers serve people living in the European Union as well as in the United States, Canada, and other countries.


    Peculiarities of receiving inheritance from abroad and difficulties that may arise in the process

    Inheritance from abroad is quite common, particularly for individuals with relatives or assets in various countries. Inheritance abroad can involve a complex process of registration that requires knowledge of international law and the specific rules of a particular country.

    Inheritance is a type of succession whereby the rights and obligations of a decedent transfer to his or her heirs. There are two main types of inheritance: testate and intestate. Both types can occur when inheriting property or money abroad. In such a case, the domestic rules of the country where the succession procedure takes place or the rules of international law will be applied.

    When receiving the right to an inheritance located in another country, you should pay attention to important legal aspects such as:

    • Succession procedure — in the case of legitimate succession, the order of inheritance is determined on the basis of kinship with the decedent (inheriting from the father, mother, spouse, brothers, sisters, or other relatives), but it may be different depending on the country where the inheritance is located or the last place of residence of the decedent. Generally, priority in inheritance, despite some exceptions, is given to the closest relatives (e.g. to children in case of inheritance from one of the parents). This rule, of course, also applies to the principles of legitimate succession—i.e., to situations where the decedent has not left a will. After all, it can regulate the way an inheritance is received and be realized in a different way from the legal norms, excluding some or all relatives. It should be recalled, however, that the legislation of certain countries has introduced protective mechanisms for such excluded heirs in the form of, for instance, the right to forced heirship.
    • Deadline for accepting an inheritance – different countries have certain rules under inheritance laws. Time limits have been established for certain actions, such as filing an application to receive an inheritance abroad or renouncing it. They are important because if they are over limits, the heir will not be able to effectively carry out actions related to the inheritance, which in turn is important, for instance, for the issue of liability for debts. The situation is additionally complicated in the case of inheritance abroad due to separate legal regulations in individual countries.
    Lawyer abroad – claiming an inheritance of a person who died abroad

    Actions prior to opening an inheritance case abroad

    Often, a person named as a beneficiary of an inheritance abroad may not have prior knowledge of their relatives. Very often, these are people with whom the heir had no contact or did not even know their exact place of residence.

    At the time of considering inheritance issues, most people are not well-versed in the situation and have limited knowledge of inheritance law. One of two models of procedure should be chosen to deal with the legal and actual problems related to receiving an inheritance from a person who has died abroad:

    1. Taking measures on your own to search for relatives abroad. This process is usually labor-intensive and time-consuming as it requires access to various databases. It is very difficult for a person far from the law to obtain legal knowledge in the field of inheritance abroad, and sometimes for reasons beyond their control, it is not possible at all.
    2. Assigning a case to a professional inheritance attorney. To do this, you should contact specialized organizations that offer services for finding relatives and solving the issues of receiving inheritance from abroad. These services are usually fee-based, but they have effective results. Therefore, it is worth using the services of professionals before registering your own inheritance in Europe or elsewhere.

    No matter which method you choose, remember that any inheritance (money or property) from overseas will not be found and registered on its own. It is important to take the right steps in a timely manner and trust the professionals for a successful case outcome. Therefore, we recommend using the assistance of our international inheritance lawyer in Poland or elsewhere.

    Why is it better to use the services of professional lawyers to handle an inheritance case abroad?

    The process of registering an inheritance, both in Europe and abroad, is quite a complex procedure. There are often issues that arise that were not considered at the beginning of the process, such as the need to establish paternity in order to inherit from parents or other relatives, etc. This in turn gives rise to additional nuances which, due to the international nature of the case, are much more difficult to resolve than in the case of a domestic dispute (e.g. DNA testing).

    Our inheritance lawyers possess extensive experience in managing cases that involve inheriting money and real estate properties abroad. At the same time, thanks to our membership in the IAPPR (International Association of Professional Probate Researchers) and cooperation with real estate agencies in all countries, we can guarantee assistance at every stage of the inheritance case, beginning with the search for potential heirs, determining the composition of inheritance, obtaining rights to inheritance and ending with the realization of inheritance and the transfer of estate to authorized persons.

    The price of handling an inheritance case abroad by the Lawyer in Europe company

    Our established client cooperation mechanisms help alleviate the financial burden associated with registering an inheritance abroad. Our remuneration is based on a success fee system. This means that we only charge fees once the case is successfully concluded for the client and the inheritance has been received from overseas, and the cost of an inheritance lawyer’s services (international probate lawyer cost) is determined by a percentage commission. If for any reason the case is concluded against the client due to circumstances beyond their control, they bear no financial risk. This is stipulated in the agreement, the conclusion of which precedes the conduct of an inheritance case abroad.

    Claiming an inheritance abroad

    When registering an inheritance in England, Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Greece, Austria, the United States, Australia, and other countries, it should be taken into account that in such cases the rules established by the legislation of this country are applied.

    The remuneration amount of our international inheritance lawyers for handling an inheritance case depends primarily on the degree of its complexity and also on:

    • the amount of notarized documentation;
    • the search for the inherited property abroad;
    • the preparation of documentation in out-of-court and, if necessary, court proceedings;
    • the representation of the client’s interests and the handling of their inheritance case in court;
    • the organization and financing of air travel (in cases where the client’s presence in the country where the inheritance is located is required);
    • payment for hotels abroad;
    • other expenses.

    Legal services on inheritance issues abroad

    How to properly register an inheritance in Europe, Poland, Germany, and other countries.

    Legal regulations governing inheritance abroad

    The complexity of legal issues in international inheritance cases depends on factors such as the decedent’s place of residence, nationality, estate location, relevant agreements, and the volume of associated legal documentation. It is important to realize that inheritance laws may differ from law to law in certain countries. Thus, receiving an inheritance in Germany, Portugal, England, the USA, or other countries will have its own peculiarities.

    In international inheritance cases, the principle that the law applicable to the decedent’s last place of residence will govern the inheritance procedure is generally applied. It is known as the “lex domicile” in law. However, some countries have their own rules regarding the inheritance of citizens, regardless of their place of residence. In addition, the law of location of certain types of property (e.g. real estate) may sometimes apply.

    As a practical matter, if the decedent had ties to more than one country, inheritance cases can be particularly complicated. Many countries are bound by international agreements that regulate inheritance issues, such as, for instance, Regulation (EU) No. 650/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of July 4, 2012, on jurisdiction, recognition, and enforcement of decisions in civil and commercial matters (the so-called Succession Regulation).

    What is the process of accepting an inheritance abroad?

    More often than not, the process associated with an inheritance abroad begins with determining whether a will exists. When inheriting under a will, the lawyer probates it. If there is no will, there is inheritance by law. Then the composition of the inheritance must be determined (inheriting foreign property, inheriting money from another country, etc.). This may require obtaining documents from financial, banking, insurance, human resources, and other agencies.

    Documents required to conduct an inheritance case abroad

    To secure the right to inherit from a deceased individual abroad, certain documents must be submitted to lawyers who specialize in inheritance cases, among which should be mentioned the following:

    • death certificate of the testator;
    • birth certificate, if necessary, and the marriage certificate of the heir;
    • photo document confirming the heir’s identity;
    • special powers of attorney (e.g. banking).

    At least some of the documents managed to be collected abroad. Based on a power of attorney, our inheritance lawyer receives them on behalf of the client. We also provide official translations if necessary.

    Inheritance tax

    The issue of inheritance taxation abroad is of extreme importance for heirs. Inheritance tax rates vary by country where the inheritance is received. This means that the tax will be different if you receive an inheritance from the US, Germany, or other countries. There are states where there is no inheritance tax at all (e.g. Cyprus). On the other hand, in some countries, this tax is especially high (e.g. France). Some countries have special rules for calculating inheritance taxes, which may vary according to the value of the inheritance and the degree of the heir’s kin: the higher the degree of the heir’s kin with the testator, the lower the tax is. If you have any questions, take advantage of the advice on inheritance from our German or Greek inheritance lawyer or lawyers in any other country of interest to you and find out all the details.

    Acceptance of inheritance abroad with the help of Lawyer in Europe company specialists

    Our lawyers in Europe, specializing in international inheritance cases, can help you inherit money or real estate from abroad and receive inheritance from the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the United States, Canada, and other countries in Europe and around the world.

    For any questions, as well as for more detailed information, we recommend contacting our experts using the contact form, by phone, or e-mail.


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