Inheritances: Five steps to receive goods and deal with bureaucracy

Losing a loved one is painful, but, emotions aside, there are many bureaucracies to deal with when a situation like this happens, mainly related to inheritance. See how to facilitate this process and the steps to take to get your share and make sure that the sharing of assets is done correctly.

We know that this is a sensitive topic. However, as it is also something that requires a lot of bureaucracy, the ComparaJá.pt compiled a set of tips to facilitate this process, presenting you, in a simple way, the five steps to follow.

# 1: Register the death

After death, the first thing to do is to register the death. You must do this by going to the Civil Registry Office, within 48 hours, accompanied by the death certificate, as well as your identification documents.

The death certificate is issued by the doctor who verified the death and, currently, it is sent electronically directly to the IRN (Institute of Registries and Notaries). The family member can request the certificate in person at the IRN or online, at this Institute's website, free of charge.

That said, a death certificate will be issued, a document that makes the death official.

You can go to the funeral home to handle this procedure.

# 2: Enabling heirs

After the death is made official, it is necessary to know who the beneficiaries are. Thus, the head-of-couple (who may be the spouse, an executor, a relative or a testamentary heir) will have to make a public deed at a Notary's Office or at the Heritage Desk to request the qualification of heirs.

A Qualification of Heirs it is a document that identifies successors to the estate left by the deceased. This process costs 150 euros and has no deadline.

The head of the couple, in addition to being responsible for the deed, is also responsible for managing the inheritance until the sharing of assets.

To do the deed of the heirs' qualification, the following documents must be accompanied:

  • Death certificate;
  • Heirs' birth and marriage certificates;
  • Testament content certificate, if any;

If there is no will, the inheritance is left to the legitimate heirs, and an order to share assets must be respected. This legitimate succession privileges the closest family members, in the following order:

    1. Spouse and descendants (children, grandchildren);
    2. Spouse and ascendants (parents and grandparents);
    3. Brothers and their descendants;
    4. Other relatives more distant to the fourth degree (right cousins, great-uncles and great-nephews);
    5. State.

If the deceased has left debts, these too are part of the inheritance - and someone will have to be responsible for paying them off.

# 3: List of assets

The third step is the list of goods. This process is carried out by the head of the couple. However, there are two different ways to do this, depending on the intended objective: either in the scope of inventory or to be delivered in Finance.

Using inventory

The list of assets for the purpose of inventory must specify all the assets left by the deceased, being listed in a list in the following order:

  1. Credit titles;
  2. Money;
  3. Foreign currencies;
  4. Gold, silver, precious stones and similar objects;
  5. Movable property;
  6. Real estate.

Nowadays, it is no longer necessary to resort to a Notary Office. This process can be done online through the platform inventarios.pt.

Take note:

The carrying out of the inventory is not mandatory, being necessary only if there is disagreement between the heirs regarding the division of assets, if the debts of the deceased are greater than the value of the inheritance left or if there are minor or disabled heirs.

Delivered in Finance

In turn, the list of goods to be delivered in Finance is mandatory and consists of a form to be filled in by the couple's head. This declaration contains a list of the assets taxed on Finance (real estate, land, cars, shares, business ...) left by the deceased.

If the heirs find any error in the listing, they have the right to claim its content, claiming assets unduly included, proven through plausible justification. If these errors are confirmed, the head of the couple will have to make the necessary changes, as this is the document that will allow the fair division of assets.

# 4: Registration in Finance

After filling out the property list form, it must be handed over to Finance by the head of the couple within a maximum period of three months after death, as a way to declare the death, mentioning his identity, date and place where it occurred the death, as well as the legal heirs and their relationship.

# 5: Sharing property

The last step in the process is the sharing of assets by each heir.

If there is no dispute, this sharing is done informally by agreement between the parties. In case of disputes, this sharing is done using the inventory (as already mentioned in point 3) and, in certain cases of greater complexity, may require legal intervention.

If movable, immovable property exists (Land, houses, etc.) or titles of credits and shares, the sharing has to be done through a deed in a Notary Public, in order to pass the goods to the name of the legitimate heir.

The sharing and registration process has a cost of 375 euros to which are added taxes or fees related to consultation of registration databases. This amount can be paid by ATM, in cash, by check or by postal order in favor of the Institute of Registries and Notaries.

Once an agreement has been reached on what share each heir has, the process is concluded.

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