How is a will drawn up and can I register it?
Last update: 10/7/2012
Anyone who wishes to have a will drawn up must respect specific forms. Lithuanian law has the following forms of wills:
- Official wills are wills which are made in writing in two copies and attested by the civil law notary (authentic will).
- A private will is a will which is hand-written by the testator indicating the first name and surname of the testator, the date (year, month, day) and place where the will was made, expressing the true intent of the testator and signed by him/her (holographic will).
In a cross-border situation, a will is, in principle, valid if it conforms to:
- the law of the place where it was made,
- or the law of the nationality held by the testator either at the moment of preparing the will, or at the moment of his/her death; or
- the law of the place where the testator has his/her usual place of residence, either at the moment of preparing the will, or at the moment of his/her death;
- or the law of the state of the testator’s residence at the time when those acts were performed or at the time of his/her death;
- for immoveables, the law of the place where they are situated.
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 will may be made exclusively by the testator himself/herself and only if he/she is a legally capable person who is able to comprehend the importance and consequences of his/her actions (§ 5.15 CC). For the will to be valid the requirements regarding its form must also be respected. A testator should make a will freely, without coercion or error (§ 5.18 CC).
Wills may be official and private (§ 5.27 CC). Official wills are wills which are made in writing in two copies and attested by the civil law notary or an official of the Consulate of the Republic of Lithuania in the relevant state (§ 5.28 CC).
The following shall be equalled to official wills:
1) wills of people undergoing treatment in hospitals or any other institutions of medical care and disease prevention or in sanatoriums, as well as the wills of persons living in the homes for elderly or disabled people attested by the chief doctors, their deputies for medical matters or doctors on duty of these hospitals, institutions of medical care or sanatoriums, likewise by the directors or chief doctors of such homes for elderly or disabled people;
2) wills of people sailing in seagoing vessels or ships of internal waters flying the flag of the Republic of Lithuania, attested by the masters of those ships;
3) wills of people participating in surveyor, research, sport or any other expeditions attested by the heads of those expeditions;
4) wills of soldiers attested by the commanders of those units, formations or institutions and military schools;
5) wills of inmates of the places of confinement attested by the heads of these institutions;
6) wills attested by the neighbourhood executive managers of the place of residence (§ 5.28 CC).
A private will is a will written up in hand by the testator indicating the first name and surname of the testator, the date (year, month, day) and place where the will was made, expressing the true intent of the testator and signed by him/her. A private will may be written up in any language (§ 5.30 CC).
What are the conditions governing the validity of a will drawn up in another State?
See the answer to the question on the criteria used to determine the applicable law (§1.60-1.62 CC) and the answer mentioning the principles governing the choice of applicable law.
Are agreements relating to a future inheritance authorised? Who can conclude such an agreement? What form must be respected?
There are no such agreements authorised according to the national legislation. Some features of the mentioned “_future inheritance_” agreement may be seen in a contract of rent for life (§ 6.456 CC) or contract of life annuity (§ 6.460).
A promise to donate a property or a property right or to relieve someone of a property duty in the future shall not constitute a contract of gift (part 2 of the § 6.465 CC). Also a contract providing for the transfer of a gift to the ownership of the donee after the death of the donor shall be null and void. Relations of such kind shall be governed by the provisions regulating legal relationships of inheritance (part 1 of the § 6.466). The donee’s unconditional renouncement of a succession shall not constitute a gift (part 2 of the § 6.466).
How and where can I register a will? What is the effect of registration?
The registration of wills made in the territory of the Republic of Lithuanian shall be handled by the Central Hypothec institution. Civil law notaries and consular officers shall be obliged within three working days to notify the Central Hypothec institution about the attested, accepted for deposit or revoked wills. The notification shall include the testator’s name and surname, personal identity code, the place of residence, the place where and the date on which the will was made, the type of will, and the place of deposit. The content of the will shall not be divulged. After the death of the testator, the data of the Register may be transferred to the court, civil law notary and other interested people (§ 5.32 CC).
The collection of data on wills in one database guarantees the rights of testamentary successors: before issuing the certificates of inheritance, civil law notaries are able to check in the register if they have the latest will, if it is not abolished etc. The collection of data on proceeding cases of succession prevents several certificates of inheritance regarding the same estate from being issued.
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