How and when does one become an heir?

Last update: 10/3/2012

In the moment of the opening of the succession (that is, at the death of the deceased), the property of the estate falls directly by operation of law to the heir.

A person who obtained the inheritance rights upon the death of the deceased, either through the will or through the provisions of the law, is an heir.

The heir is needed to carry out the inheritance proceedings, ending by a valid decision on inheritance, and determining: the inheritance, the heirs, their shares, and if their inheritance rights are limited or bequeathed. (Please see last sentence in answer 4).

An explicit acceptance of the inheritance is not required. The estate accrues to the heir even without his/her acceptance, unless the heir renounces the inheritance within the statutory delay, i.e. until the inheritance decision of first instance is laid down.

Detailed information

A person who obtained the inheritance rights upon the death of the deceased, either through the will or through the provisions of the law is an heir.

It is needed to carry out the inheritance proceedings, ending by a valid decision on inheritance, and determining: the inheritance, the heirs, their shares, and if their inheritance rights are limited or bequeathed.

An explicit acceptance of the inheritance is not required. The estate accrues to the heir even without his/her acceptance, unless the heir renounces the inheritance within the statutory delay.
The time limit for the renunciation is until the inheritance order of first instance is laid down. (Art. 130 /1 ZON.

Is it possible to renounce a succession?

In the Republic of Croatia it is possible to renounce on inheritance (in whole). (Art. 130-138 ZON).
The renunciation on inheritance (in whole) can be made before a court during the inheritance proceedings or through a publicly authorised statement, and also through a contract between the spouses, and between the descendant who can independently dispose his/her rights and his/her ascendant during his/her life time (Art. 130, 134 ZON).
It takes effect for the descendants of the person who renounced if he/she has not explicitly stated that he/she renounced in his/her name only.

Is it possible to accept a succession subject to conditions?

Croatian Inheritance Law does not recognise a conditional acceptance of a succession.

Are the heirs and co-heirs liable for the deceased’s debts?

The heir cannot limit his/her liability. Heirs are with solidarity liable for the amount of the testator’s debts up to the value they have inherited (Art. 139 ZON).