Montenegro, a picturesque cultural gem, has become an increasingly attractive destination for foreigners looking to invest in property or retire in a serene and beautiful environment. While the country offers a wide range of opportunities for real estate investment, foreigners need to understand property inheritance laws to ensure their Montenegro estate is protected and passed on smoothly to their heirs. In this article, we will provide an overview of property inheritance laws in Montenegro, including fundamental principles, legal procedures, and recent changes. Hence, you are better equipped to plan for the inheritance of your Montenegro estate.
What is the Inheritance Law in Montenegro?
Montenegro’s inheritance laws are primarily based on the principles of Roman law, and the country has adopted a civil law system. The Montenegrin Civil Code and the Law on Inheritance mainly regulate property inheritance. As a Montenegro property owner, you should know these legal frameworks to navigate the property inheritance process effectively.
Basic Principles of Inheritance Law in Montenegro
In Montenegro, inheritance law is primarily governed by the Law on Inheritance, last updated in 2017. Here are some fundamental principles of Montenegrin inheritance law:
- Succession Types: In Montenegro, there are two main types of inheritance: statutory succession and testamentary succession. Statutory succession occurs when a person passes away without leaving a will, while testamentary succession refers to cases where the deceased has expressed their wishes in a legally valid will.
- Forced Heirship: Montenegro maintains a system of forced heirship, meaning that certain close relatives have a legal right to a portion of the deceased’s estate. This includes descendants, parents, and a surviving spouse.
- Freedom of Disposition: While forced heirship applies to a portion of the estate, the deceased generally can distribute the remaining assets as they wish in their will.
- Legal Capacity: To create a valid will in Montenegro, one must be of sound mind, over the age of 15, and have the legal capacity to do so.
- Inheritance Tax: In Montenegro, inheritance tax is not levied on transferring assets to spouses, descendants, and ascendants. However, other beneficiaries may be subject to inheritance tax, with rates depending on the value of the inheritance.
Inheritance Rights for Foreigners in Montenegro
Foreign nationals in Montenegro have the same property inheritance rights as Montenegrin citizens. This means foreigners can freely acquire, possess, and inherit real estate in Montenegro. The country encourages foreign investment in real estate, making it relatively straightforward for non-citizens to own property and build a Montenegro estate to be passed on to their surviving family members.
Legal Formalities for Montenegrin Property Inheritance
- Will: The foundation of property inheritance in Montenegro, as in most countries, is a will. You can create a will to specify how your assets, including real estate, should be distributed after your passing. It’s important to note that wills are recognized and enforceable in Montenegro, even if created in another country, as long as they comply with Montenegrin law.
- Intestate Succession: In the absence of a will, Montenegro’s intestate succession rules will come into play. Under these rules, your assets will be distributed to your legal heirs, including your spouse, children, and other close family members. It’s essential to understand these rules, as they may not necessarily align with your preferences.
- Inheritance Tax: Montenegro imposes an inheritance tax on inherited property, which varies based on the relationship between the deceased and the heir. Spouses, children, and grandchildren typically enjoy exemption, while more distant relatives or non-relatives may face higher taxes. It’s advisable to consult with a local attorney or tax expert to understand your specific tax obligations.
- Property Registration: Once the inheritance process is complete, the real estate should be re-registered in the name of the new owner. This is a crucial step to ensure legal ownership and property rights.
How Much is Inheritance Tax in Montenegro?
When someone inherits property, they must pay the 3% inheritance tax. The market worth of the inherited property, less any debts and associated costs, is the amount subject to taxation. If property is given or inherited by parents, spouses, or children, an exemption is available. For more information about tax in Montenegro read our informative blog here.
Legal Procedures for Inheritance of Montenegro Estates
The process of handling an inheritance in Montenegro involves several important steps:
Opening Probate Proceedings
When a person passes away, it is necessary to open probate proceedings in the competent court. This involves submitting the deceased’s death certificate and any existing will.
During probate proceedings, the court identifies the heirs of the deceased and determines their respective shares in the estate. Forced heirship rules apply, ensuring that specific family members receive their legal portions.
Distributing the Montenegro Estate
After the court establishes the estate’s value and the rights of the heirs, it oversees the distribution of assets accordingly. This can involve the sale of assets to provide heirs with their entitlements.
Challenging the Will
Heirs or interested parties may challenge the validity of a will if they believe it was created under duress, fraud, or other irregular circumstances.
Recent Changes in Montenegrin Inheritance Law
Montenegro has made several significant changes to its inheritance law in recent years to align it with European standards and facilitate the process for residents and non-residents. Some key changes include:
- Digital Wills: Montenegro has introduced the option for digital wills, allowing individuals to create wills electronically, which must be stored with a notary or digitally to ensure their validity.
- Simplified Procedures: The government has worked to simplify and expedite the probate process, making it more efficient for heirs to access their inheritance.
- Modernized Taxation: Montenegro has adjusted its inheritance tax laws to make them more equitable and reflect the estate’s value, reducing the burden on heirs.
Find the Right Property to Pass on at Royal Town Kotor
The elegantly equipped serviced apartments at Royal Town Kotor are ideally situated near some of the most spectacular sights in Montenegro. They are intended to provide a luxurious stay for discerning guests. For those who want a cozier vacation, each apartment has tastefully designed timber floors, luxurious kitchen and bathroom fixtures, and roomy dressing spaces. The purpose of the well-thought-out design is to enhance the visual and sensual experience of the visitors. Penthouse options and flats with one, two, or three bedrooms are all available in our apartments for sale in Kotor. The Royal Town Kotor premium serviced apartments offer a seamless transition between a place to stay for work and a place to stay for pleasure.
Secure Your Future Family Home in Montenegro
Whether you’re planning to retire in Montenegro or invest in this picturesque country, it’s essential to be well-informed about the legal framework, create a will that aligns with your wishes, and seek local legal counsel to navigate the complexities of bequeathing your Montenegro estate. With the proper knowledge and guidance, you can ensure that your assets are protected and passed on to your heirs as you intend.
Consider luxury real estate in Montenegro, like Royal Town Kotor, if you’re looking for profitable business opportunities in Montenegro. Get in touch with us to find out more about living in a luxurious serviced apartment in Royal Town Kotor.
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