Unlock Peace of Mind: Your Expert Guide to Seamless Inheritance Solutions in Serbia!
In the intricate realm of inheritance, legal frameworks provide guidance for the transfer of assets and legacies from one generation to the next. The principles of inheritance, as delineated by the Law on Inheritance, establish a structured path for the distribution of property when an individual passes away. Within this legal tapestry, two distinct bases for inheritance emerge – testamentary bequests and inheritance by virtue of law. This exposition navigates through the intricate fabric of inheritance lines, revealing how heirs, both immediate and distant, navigate this web of succession.
The Law on Inheritance provides for two bases for inheritance:
- Inheritance based on a will
- Inheritance based on the law.
Inheritance occurs when the conditions for inheritance are met.
Circle of legal heirs
Under the law of inheritance, the following individuals are eligible to inherit from the deceased based on the law: their descendants, adopted children and their descendants, the spouse, the parents, adoptive parents, siblings and their descendants, grandparents and their descendants, and other ancestors.
Inheritance is carried out through inheritance lines. The relationship between inheritance lines is determined by law in a way that heirs of a closer inheritance line exclude heirs of a more distant inheritance line.
If the deceased has no descendants, the spouse does not inherit in the first inheritance line.
The Republic of Serbia is the last legal heir.
The Law on Inheritance establishes rules for four inheritance lines. If the deceased had no heirs and did not make a will, the heir is the Republic of Serbia.
First inheritance line
The first inheritance line consists of the deceased’s children and their spouse.
The deceased’s children and spouse inherit equal shares.
Additionally, the principle of representation should always be considered, allowing that in the case an offspring of the deceased is not inheriting (due to being deceased, unworthy of inheritance, excluded from inheritance, etc.), the descendants of that offspring inherit the share of inheritance that the original offspring would have received. Descendants of a closer degree of relationship exclude descendants of a more distant degree (e.g., grandchildren exclude great-grandchildren).
An exception to the principle of representation is when the deceased’s spouse is not alive at the time of the deceased’s passing. In this case, the spouse’s inheritance portion is divided into as many parts as the deceased has first-degree descendants.
When there exists a child of the deceased for whom the spouse is not a parent, and the spouse’s estate is larger than what they would receive in equal division of the inheritance, then each child of the deceased can inherit up to twice as much as the spouse, if the court, after considering all circumstances, deems it justified.
Second inheritance line
The second inheritance line consists of the deceased’s spouse, parents, and their descendants.
If the deceased had a spouse but no descendants, the spouse inherits in the second inheritance line and receives half of the inheritance (½), while the other half is inherited equally by the deceased’s parents (¼ each).
If the deceased did not have a spouse, or if the spouse cannot or does not inherit, the entire inheritance is inherited equally by the deceased’s parents.
The principle of representation also applies in the second inheritance line. Specifically, if one of the parents is not alive, then the portion that would have belonged to them is inherited by their descendants (in this case, the siblings of the deceased).
If one of the deceased’s parents is not alive and the deceased had no siblings or half-siblings (from the deceased parent), then the entire inheritance goes to the other surviving parent.
If neither of the deceased’s parents is alive and the deceased had no siblings or half-siblings, the entire inheritance is inherited by the deceased’s spouse.
Changes to the inheritance portion within the second inheritance line are possible in cases of increasing or decreasing the spouse’s inheritance portion, as well as increasing the inheritance portion of the deceased’s parents.
Third inheritance line
The third inheritance line consists of the deceased’s grandparents and their descendants. Therefore, the third inheritance line has four ancestors, and the inheritance is divided into four equal parts.
The deceased’s paternal grandparents inherit half of the inheritance, and the maternal grandparents inherit the other half, equally.
The portion of the inheritance belonging to one line is divided into two parts, so each ancestor receives a quarter of the inheritance. Inheritance within one line is entirely based on the rules of the second inheritance line.
A specificity compared to the rules of the second inheritance line occurs when the paternal grandparents of the deceased have no descendants and cannot or will not inherit. In this case, the inheritance portion of the paternal grandparents is inherited by the maternal grandparents, their children, and grandchildren, following the rules of representation.
Fourth inheritance line
The fourth inheritance line consists of the deceased’s great-grandparents.
The paternal great-grandparents inherit half of the inheritance equally, while the maternal great-grandparents inherit the other half equally.
If any of these ancestors cannot or will not inherit, their portion is inherited by their spouse, if that spouse is also an ancestor of the deceased.
If a pair of ancestors from the same line cannot or will not inherit, their portion is inherited by another pair of ancestors from the same line.
If the great-grandparents from one line cannot or will not inherit, their portion is inherited by the great-grandparents from the other line.
Other inheritance lines
After the deceased’s great-grandparents, the inheritance is inherited by their more distant ancestors in the order and according to the rules under which the deceased’s great-grandparents inherited.
The intricate dance of inheritance, woven through legal provisions and familial ties, paints a vivid portrait of legacy’s journey. From the first steps of the immediate family to the far-reaching echoes of distant ancestors, the law of inheritance orchestrates the passage of possessions and heritage.