International Succession Law

"We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies." Shirley Abbott

With today's modern living it is not uncommon for people to have extended families, second marriages, partnerships and a mix of other arrangements all over the world. Many families also have various business interests in different countries and all these arrangements need careful consideration in case of succession.


An inheritance will already be international if:

  • A bank account;
  • A property;
  • A heir;
  • or the Deceased

is located in another country.

The consequences will normally be associated with applying of the appropriate provisions of inheritance law as well as the tax law.

The heirs are to be aware that rules of succession, wills or forced heirs may be partially altered. This can put the planned inheritance order at risk, but at the same time offers opportunities. For example, forced heirship rules restrict the ability of a testator to decide how his assets should be distributed after his death, whereas the exact rules differ from country to country. Whilst some countries may insist that upon death all the property of an individual domiciled in that country must, in every circumstance, pass to their forced heirs, other countries may permit a testator to give away a proportion of his estate, providing the balance passed to forced heirs. Moreover, some countries have time consuming and costly procedures of estate administration and distribution.
As for tax aspect, many foreign owners of real estate, for instance, are not familiar with the fact that their heirs may face a tax bill up to 40-60% depending on the grade of kinship.
Another example - in several jurisdictions the heirs may have unlimited personal liability for the inheritance's debts with their own property, for which reason it would make sense to renounce the estate if it is burdened with debts.
Such international inheritances typically concern the legal and fiscal systems of more than one state and demand coordinated consulting and tax planning.

Making a Will and planning how your assets are distributed is very much about making sure the assets you have built up during your lifetime, go to the people who you wish to receive them, leaving a legacy of your life to future generations.

We provide legal advice in relation to national and international inheritance law with foresight, focusing on the following areas in particular:

  • General counseling on succession law in Ukraine (which is the competent authority; circle of heirs; acceptance and renunciation of the estate; how and when does one become a heir; how much tax do the heirs have to pay on a succession? etc.);
  • International succession planning;
  • Preparation and design of the Last Will and Testament;
  • Legal assistance on intestate matters and execution of Wills;
  • Intervention in legal administration of estates and acting as representatives of heirs in all competent bodies of Ukraine and overseas;
  • Drafting and negotiation of estate distributions agreements;
  • Recognition of forced heirship in testate estates;
  • Invalidation and annulment of Last Will and Testament;
  • Preparation and defense against inheritance claims;
  • Prolongation of a term for acceptance of inheritance;
  • Obtaining and legalization of the documents of church registers and vital statistics offices to prove kinship relationships to the deceased.

If you need to speak to a lawyer about international family planning, legal separation, child custody, enforcement of a court order, fertility treatment options, inheritance rules or another family or succession law matter, contact the Law Offices of UkrLegis.