Which law applies?
Can I choose the law applicable to my succession?

Last update: 10/5/2012

The law applicable to the succession is the law of the country of which the deceased had nationality at the moment of his/her death. Croatian law allows no exception to this law, in that you cannot choose the law applicable to your succession.

Croatian courts have exclusive competency when the deceased is a foreign citizen and owned property in Croatia.

Detailed information

Which criteria are used to determine the applicable law?

A succession as a result of death will be determined according to the deceased’s personal status at the time of his/her death. This depends on the nationality of the deceased. Indeed, the law applicable to the succession is the law of the country of which the deceased had citizenship (nationality), at the moment of his/her death (Art. 30 ZRSZ). Croatian law allows no exception to this law.

Substantive rules of law of the country of which the deceased had nationality apply to the inheritance proceedings. (Art 2/2 ZON, Art. 71-73 ZRSZ). Whether the deceased had or did not have residence in Croatia at the time of death does not have any influence on applicable substantive inheritance law.

Which principles govern the choice of applicable law?

Croatian law does not provide for the choice of applicable law.

What are the main international agreements in force?

  • The Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 on the Conflicts of Laws Relating to the Form of Testamentary Dispositions (Sl. L. MU 10/1962 former Federative Peoples Republic of Yugoslavia). Republic of Croatia became a party in Convention upon Notification on succession Oct. 8, 1991 (NN MU, br. 4/1994).
  • Austria – Treaty on reciprocal judicial relations between the Republic of Austria and former Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia, including the final protocol of Dec. 16, 1954, where the Republic of Croatia became a party upon a succession (SL FNRJ MU 8/55, NN MU 1/97).
  • Belgium – Treaty on legal help in civil and commercial matters between former Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia and Kingdom of Belgium, Sept. 24, 1971, where the Republic of Croatia became a party upon a succession (SL SFRJ MU 7/74, NN MU 11/97).
  • France – Convention on recognition and execution of decisions of the courts in civil and commercial matters between former Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia and Republic of France, where the Republic of Croatia became a party upon a succession (SL FNRJ MU 7/72, NN MU 4/96).
  • Slovenia – Treaty of Feb. 7, 1994 on legal help in civil and penal matters between the Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Croatia, verified on March 24, 1994, applied from Aug. 19, 1995 (NN MU 3/94).