Which is the competent authority?
Who should I contact?
Last update: 10/1/2012
The Slovak authorities are competent for matters relating to inheritances if the deceased had Slovak nationality at the time of his or her death. On the other hand, if assets included in the inheritance are located abroad, the Slovak authorities are not competent, unless the assets of the inheritance are entrusted to the Slovak authorities.
Slovak bodies are competent to conduct proceedings concerning inheritance from a foreigner if the property is in the Slovak Republic:
a) if the deceased was resident there, at the request of an heir who is also resident there;
b) automatically if it involves real estate within the territory of the Slovak Republic;
c) if the foreign state refuses to deal with the inheritance or issues no opinion on it.
The proceedings will commence when the relevant body of state administration entrusted with the management of the register of births and deaths announces the death within its constituency to the court competent to conduct the inheritance proceedings, that is to say, to the district court in the place of the last home address of the deceased. If the deceased did not have a home address, the court in the district of which he/she last resided is competent. The court will commence proceedings even without being petitioned once it learns that someone has died or has been declared deceased. A notary will conduct the inheritance proceedings as a judicial commissioner on the basis of a court authorisation, and he/she thus has the status of a judicial authority in the inheritance proceedings.
Which international rules of jurisdiction apply to the assets of a national or foreign citizen?
In the absence of international conventions, the estate is governed in Slovakia, on condition that the deceased is a Slovak national at the time of death. If a foreigner leaves property on Slovak territory, the Slovak authorities are competent to give a ruling on this succession if:
- the State of which the deceased is a national does not return the estate of the Slovak nationals to the Slovak judicial bodies and does not recognise decisions of the Slovak judicial bodies, or the foreign State refuses to deal with the succession or does not make a decision; or
- the deceased had his/her or residence on the territory of the Slovak Republic and his/her heir, who lives there, requests this;
- in all cases, if it relates to immovable property located on the territory of the Slovak Republic.
Which international rules of jurisdiction apply to the assets of the deceased if located abroad?
If the estate of a Slovak national is located abroad, the Slovak authorities will give a ruling on this succession only if the property concerned were to be returned to the Slovak authorities or if the foreign State recognises the decisions of the Slovak judicial bodies.
If the succession of a foreigner is outside the territory of the Slovak Republic, the Slovak authorities do not have jurisdiction.
Which authority is responsible for the succession procedure? How and by whom is the succession procedure instigated?
The succession procedure is opened even in the absence of an application, in general as soon as the competent civil status office informs the court that a person has died or has been declared dead. If the deceased did not have his/her residence in Slovakia, the competent court is determined according to the last residence of the deceased. The order to open the procedure is issued by the competent court without notice.
The succession is then dealt with by a civil law notary as judicial commissioner acting in accordance with a delegation by the court. In the succession procedure he/she acts in the capacity of a judicial body. There is a distribution key that designates which civil law notary is competent for which succession procedure. This distribution is published annually by the President of the regional court on proposal by the Chamber of Civil Law Notaries of the Slovak Republic.
Can or must an inventory of the estate be drawn up?
The court (judicial commissioner) is obliged by the law to draw up an inventory of the assets and debts of the succession.
Is there a system regarding the administration of the succession?
The court (judicial commissioner) can designate a person responsible for administration of the estate for general interest or if the parties cite an important interest. The administrator of the succession accomplishes, to the extent determined by the court, the necessary acts to preserve the property of the succession.
How is the succession procedure closed?
The succession procedure ends:
- with the certificate of inheritance, issued by the civil law notary as judicial commissioner in virtue of the consent of the heirs, which has the effect of a legal order on the succession if the heir does not make a request to continue the procedure within 15 days of receipt of the certificate of inheritance, or the day he/she renounces the right to do so; or
- by legal order of inheritance issued by the court (on proposal by the civil law notary) in the event that the succession procedure has not been closed by the issue of the inheritance certificate; or
- by order to close the procedure issued by the civil law notary as judicial commissioner when the deceased has not left any estate.
How is the estate transmitted to the heirs/legatees?
At the time the succession is opened (death of the deceased), the succession property (of the deceased’s estate) is devolved directly to the heir without any procedure. From this moment, the heirs can dispose of the succession. If there are several heirs, they dispose of the shares of the estate that are part of the inheritance as co-heirs (during the succession procedure). However, this right to dispose is restricted during the succession procedure, to the extent that the heirs can only sell or take measures beyond ordinary management with the agreement of the court (judicial commissioner).
Formally, the full acquisition of the property presupposes closure of the succession procedure. Furthermore, the property rights on the immovable property are transferred once they have been registered on the land register.
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