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The Updated Procedure for Opening and Formalizing Inheritance

On November 28, 2023, the President signed two laws that modify the procedure for opening and formalizing inheritance. These laws were developed to protect the rights of heirs in times of war or a state of emergency.

These laws are specifically identified as Law No. 9287 amending certain laws of Ukraine to improve the procedure for accepting inheritance and Law No. 9288 amending the Civil Code of Ukraine to enhance the procedure for accepting inheritance.

Law No. 9288 introduces changes to the Civil Code of Ukraine, including:

  • establishing a rule that the place of opening the inheritance is the last place of residence of the testator or the location of their property. It is worth noting that, according to the current version of this norm (which came into force on May 22, 2023), the place of opening the inheritance is considered the place of submission of the first application indicating the expression of will regarding the inheritance property, heirs, executors of the will, persons interested in protecting such property, or creditors' claims;
  • providing for the suspension of limitation periods during the period of military or a state of emergency in Ukraine;
  • setting special deadlines and a specific procedure for regulating inheritance legal relations during the period of military or a state of emergency in Ukraine or specific localities. In particular, it is specified that in case of registering the death of a natural person later than one months from the date of their death, the deadlines for accepting the inheritance, refusal to accept it, issuing certificates of the right to inheritance are calculated from the date of the state registration of the testator's death, not from the date of opening the inheritance (paragraph 20 of the Final and Transitional Provisions);
  • during the period of military or a state of emergency in Ukraine or specific localities, and within six months from its termination or cancellation, if the place of opening the inheritance is a locality in the territory of which the state authorities temporarily do not exercise or do not fully exercise their powers, the territory on which active hostilities are being conducted or temporarily occupied territory, statements regarding the acceptance of inheritance, refusal to accept it, creditors' claims against the heirs, and other statements related to inheritance are submitted to a notary regardless of the place of opening the inheritance (paragraph 21 of the Final and Transitional Provisions).

Special rules also apply to inheritances opened after the introduction of military or a state of emergency in Ukraine or specific localities until Law No. 9288 comes into effect, as well as to inheritances opened before the introduction of military or a state of emergency, the deadline for accepting which has not expired before its introduction.

Law No. 9287 provides for amendments to the Laws of Ukraine "On Notary" and "On Ensuring the Rights and Freedoms of Citizens and the Legal Regime on the Temporarily Occupied Territory of Ukraine" and aligns their provisions related to inheritance with the changes made to the Civil Code of Ukraine.

Both laws (No. 9287 and No. 9288) will come into effect two months after their official publication.

For further information, please contact Asters' Partner Talina Kravtsova and Senior Associate Yuri Neklyaev.

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