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Supreme Court of Ukraine on an additional period for accepting an inheritance

According to the rule established by law, the inheritance is accepted within 6 months, counted from the moment of opening the inheritance. The law allows for the possibility of extending this period if the heir, for some good reason, did not have time to enter into inheritance rights.

The disputed points of “validity” of reasons are dealt with by lower courts. Their wrong decisions are “corrected” by the Supreme Court of Ukraine!

Thus, the case No. 756/2764/15-c, “closed” by a legal conclusion regulating aspects of determining an additional period for entering into an inheritance, turned out to be under consideration by the Supreme Court of Ukraine.

Analysis of the situation

Background! In March 2015, a citizen (sister of the deceased, heiress of the 2nd stage) applied to the court with a claim to establish an additional period of 2 months for her to accept the inheritance.

She motivated the claim by her advanced age and the fact that she missed the deadline because of the second heir (the nephew of the deceased), who unlawfully took possession of the documents of the testator, while she was far from the place where the inheritance should be opened.

The notary refused to issue a certificate of inheritance to the plaintiff due to missing the deadline for entering into it.

The court of first instance set an additional term: the old age of the plaintiff, and her lack of legal literacy were recognized as valid reasons! The appeal court upheld this decision!

“The Supreme Court reviewed the case and, following a review, determined that old age and legal illiteracy cannot be considered objective and insurmountable difficulties preventing the timely filing of an application for a desire to enter into inheritance rights.”

The Supreme Court of Ukraine recognized the reasons for the admission as disrespectful, accompanying their decision with the following explanations:

  1. An heir who wants to accept the inheritance, but at the time of the opening of the inheritance did not live permanently with the testator, is obliged to submit a corresponding application to the notary’s office, for this he has 6 months (part 1 of article 1269 and part 1 of article 1270 of the Civil Code) .
  2. Skipping the deadline for accepting an inheritance for good reasons regulates Part 3 of Art. 1272 of the Civil Code of Ukraine, delegating the duty to determine “valid reasons” to the courts.
  3. The courts should determine the “validity of the reasons” through paragraph 24 of the Resolution “On Judicial Practice in Cases of Inheritance” dated May 30, 2008 No. 7, taking into account the fact that these are the reasons associated with objective, insurmountable, significant difficulties for the heir.

Advice to heirs

The analyzed situation quite clearly demonstrates the unpredictability of the pendulum of justice, which can give an inheritance today and take it away tomorrow! The plaintiff needed legal advice from a lawyer to find more weighty arguments in favor of valid reasons.

21.02.2022

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