How is a will drawn up and can I register it?
Last update: 10/7/2012
There are certain forms that a person wanting to draw up a will must respect. Czech law recognises the following forms of wills:
- An authentic will, drawn up by a civil law notary (notarial will);
- An authentic will drawn up by a civil law notary in the presence of two witnesses in the case of people unable to read or write. If the testator cannot read and sign the will, he/she must be accompanied in addition by an appropriate adult;
- A holographic will which must be entirely written by the testator with his/her own hand and signed by him/her;
- An allograph will (written by a person other than the testator), in the presence of two witnesses.
In a cross-border situation, a will is valid in principle if it complies with the laws of the State where it has been drawn up.
Since 2001, the Chamber of Czech Notaries has kept a central register of electronic wills. Wills drawn up by civil law notaries and filed with them can be registered in this register.
Information about how to keep, to register and to search for a will are also available on the website of the European Network of Register of Wills Association (ENRWA) in the section “Information sheet”.
What are the conditions governing the validity of a will as regards its form and substance?
A testator may either write a will in his/her own hand or make it in another written form in the presence of witnesses or in the form of a notarial deed. Every will must specify the day, month and year on which it was signed. A will which the testator did not write in his/her own hand must be signed in his/her own hand, and the testator must expressly declare before two witnesses, present at the same time, that the document contains his/her last will. The witnesses must sign the will.
What are the conditions governing the validity of a will drawn up in another State?
The capacity to make or to revoke a will, as well as the consequences of defects of will and its expression are governed by the law of the State of which the decedent was a national at the time his/her will was drawn up. The same law applies for determining what other form of dispositions for the event of death is admissible (Sec. 18 par. 1 of the Law No. 97/1963 Coll.). The form of a will is governed by the law of the State of which the deceased was a national at the moment of making the will. However, it is sufficient if the form complies with the law of the State on whose territory the will (or other disposition) was made (Sec. 18, para 2).
Are agreements relating to a future inheritance authorised? Who can conclude such an agreement? What form must be respected?
Czech law does not provide for agreements relating to a future inheritance.
Are there other possibilities for settling a succession?
There is a preference for an agreement among heirs concerning the settlement of the deceased’s estate in the course of the succession procedure.
How and where can I register a will? What is the effect of registration?
There is the Central Register of Wills maintained by the Czech Notarial Chamber in the Czech Republic. All wills executed in the form of a notarial deed are obligatorily registered in the Register. Holographic or alographic wills deposited with a civil law notary (upon application of the testator) are registered in the Register as well. The civil law notary is obliged to consult the Register in the context of each succession procedure in Court.
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Successions in the Czech Republic
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