In the absence of a will, who inherits and how much?
Last update: 10/1/2012
In the absence of a will, the following principles apply to various scenarios, like, for example:
- If the deceased was unmarried and without children: Half of the succession is devolved to the deceased’s parents (or, where necessary, their descendants). The other half of the succession is devolved to the siblings of the deceased, and in the event that the siblings are already deceased, to their descendants.
- If the deceased was unmarried and leaves children: Where the deceased has left children or other descendants but no spouse, the succession devolves upon the children and other descendants – with equal shares for each child or per stirpes.
- If the deceased leaves a spouse: The surviving spouse becomes sole heir.
- If the deceased leaves a spouse and children: The children – or their children if they are already deceased at the time of the death – become heirs in equal shares. They receive half of the succession. The other half of the succession is devolved to the surviving spouse. Maltese law also grants the surviving spouse the right to continue living in the principal residence of the deceased and the right of use over any of the furniture in the matrimonial home. Where the matrimonial home belongs in part to the surviving spouse, in any partition between the heirs of the deceased and the surviving spouse, the surviving spouse may demand that the property subject to the right of habitation be assigned to him or her upon a valuation.
Do partners of a registered or a non-registered partnership inherit?
In Malta, civil partnerships are not recognised. The partner of an unregistered partnership (= common law, unregistered) can become heir only where a will provides it. Maltese law does not grant the partner inheritance rights.
789. Intestate succession is granted in favour of the descendants, the ascendants, the collateral relatives and the spouse of the deceased, and the Government of Malta, in the order and according to the rules hereafter laid down
§ I. OF SUCCESSION BY DESCENDANTS AND SURVIVING SPOUSE.
808. (1) Where the deceased has left children or their descendants and a spouse, the succession devolves as to one moiety upon the children and other descendants and as to the other moiety upon the spouse.
809. Where the deceased has left children or other descendants but no spouse, the succession devolves upon the children and other descendants.
810. Where the deceased has left no children or other descendants but is survived by a spouse the succession devolves on the spouse.
§ II. OF SUCCESSION BY ASCENDANTS AND COLLATERALS
812. Where the deceased has left no children or other descendants, nor a spouse, the succession shall devolve:-
(a) if there be an ascendant or ascendants and no direct collaterals: to the nearest ascendant or ascendants;
(b) if there be an ascendant or ascendants and direct collaterals: one moiety to the nearest ascendant or
ascendants and the other moiety to the direct collaterals;
(c) if there be no ascendant or ascendants but there be direct collaterals: to the direct collaterals; and
(d) if there be neither ascendant or ascendants nor direct collaterals: to the nearest collateral in whatever line such collateral may be. Vide Art 813 for more details.
814. Succession between collaterals shall not extend beyond twelfth degree.
815. Where a person conceived and born out of wedlock succeeds ab intestato with adoptive children of the deceased or other children of the deceased who are not so conceived or born or descendants of such children, or with the surviving spouse of the deceased, the person conceived and born out of wedlock shall receive only three quarters of the share to which he would have been entitled if all the heirs of the deceased, including such person, had been conceived or born in wedlock, and the remaining quarter of the share to which he would have been so entitled shall devolve on the other heirs of the deceased to the exclusion of any of such heirs who is conceived and born out of wedlock as if it were a separate estate.
§ III. OF THE RIGHTS OF THE GOVERNMENT
816. Where the deceased is not survived by any of the persons entitled to succeed under the rules laid down in the foregoing articles, the inheritance shall devolve upon the Government of Malta.
What are the rights in the succession of partners of registered or non-registered partnerships?
Maltese law does not contemplate any rights of succession to cohabitating couples. In fact cohabitation, although common, is not regulated or recognised by Maltese law. At the moment the introduction of legislation to regulate cohabitation is being discussed.
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Successions in Malta
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