CROATIA's report - Family and Successions law
CROATIA's report
Family and Successions law
National  rapporteur: Zvijezdana Rauš-Klier

FAMILY AND INHERITANCE LAW

Inheritance proceeding services were given to notaries as a new competency by the Court Commissioners in 2003, and are now one of the jobs of the service.
The Municipal Court of territorial jurisdiction confers to notary public the conduct of inheritance hearing and gives him/her a death certificate. Notary  public acts in capacity of the Court Commissioner, and is empowered similar to a judge of the Municipal Court to undertake all legal actions in the procedure and render any decision (unless regulated otherwise by the IA).

The assets of testator may belong to descendants by law on the basis of testament and the legacy deeds.
a/ belongs to descendants at moment of testators death – article 4 IA
b/ by testament – testator must be over 16 years of age and have capacity to act – Article 26 of IA - testator can declare anyone as his/her descendant.
c/ three types of legacy deeds in The Inheritance Law of Republic of Croatia (RC):
            1. Deed immediately upon death
            2. Deed until death
            3. Contract on assets apportioned while alive.

Marital and de facto unions are equal in the inheritance rights. De facto partner and children, and adopted children inherit equal portions with descendants. The martial partner is entitled to separate assets on the basis of martial property (1/2 portion of marital property (Family Law))

- if no descendants , 1/2 of property goes to parents (if alive) and 1/2 to de facto partner.
- if the parents are dead, 100 % goes to the de facto partner, if no descendant

Same sex marriages are not mentioned in Inheritance Act, but their rights are regulated by the Same-Sex Act
- in lawsuits, their legal position is the same as de facto position.

The inheritance legal system of the RC contains no provisions on protection of the family property in case of remarriage of marital partner who survived the testator.
The same follows from a fact that one becomes descendant at the moment of testator's death and immediately property is changed to descendants.
Descendant with property may upon the final decision dispose of inheritance as he/she wishes. 
The inheritance legal system of the RC doesn't recognize ''family property''.
The inheritance legal system of the RC contains provisions on due portion of the testator's property.
Pursuant to Article 69 of the IA descendants of testator, his adoptees and their descendants, marital partner and (by the same analogy de facto partner), whose due portion is 1/2 of inheritance portion; and parents, adoptive parents and other predecessors only if they are continuously unable to work  and have no living wage, statutory heirs portion is 1/3 of inheritance portion.
According to the inheritance legal system of the RC the marital partner has no privilege of estate and living on real estate where he/she has lived together with testator.
Other descendants may acknowledge separation right from the marital property or can agree to allocate inheritance property among descendants.
Due portion of inheritance may be claimed up to the moment of the giving hereditary statement.
The person who acquires the inheritance has protection pursuant to the Property Act and other actual rights (Art. 115 IA), so the same is to be applied in the case when a descendant files request to the person for returning due portion, and he/she holds the subject in bona fide and acquired it from descendant.
The inheritance legal system of the RC contains no specific rules regarding cases where testator's property includes a business. This is regulated pursuant to the Company Act and comes from practice.
Company portions and shares may be freely inherited.
In the case of several descendants, these shares, in case of possible distribution among them must be inherited in round numbers (for instance one cannot inherit 15, 5 shares).
In one business share there may be several authorized persons, who could later dissolve co-ownership and allocate to each one a specific business share.
The inheritance legal system of the RC (Article 180/2 IA), according to which the Court (notary public) is obliged to pay special attention to protect and realize rights of persons who due to minor age, mental illness or other circumstances cannot take care of their rights and interests.
There are no special rules to protect persons of descendants who don't have legal capacity, but this is regulated by the Family Law.
Rights and interests of minors and persons who don't have legal capacity are protected through engagement of social welfare, whose representative must reply to hereditary statements provided by legal representatives i.e. guardians  for minor persons i.e. persons who don't have legal capacity, and to give consent or to refuse it.

Descendant may give an hereditary statement by which he/she waives the right to inheritance from the moment of testator's death.
Descendants may waive the right to inheritance even prior to death of testator. The contract between predecessors and descendants may stipulate that a descendant waives the right to inheritance after death of predecessor, i.e. the contract between marital (by analogy also de facto partners) where one waives the right to inheritance after death of other (Art. 134 IA).
Descendants may give hereditary statement by which they shall accept inheritance from the moment of testator's death.
In the RC inheritance tax is payable and descendants first in line of succession don't have to pay from the inheritance tax payment (marital partner and descendants).
Rules of private international law referring to inheritance are regulated primarily by Legislation on Resolving Conflict of Laws, with regulations of other countries in specific relations( hereinafter: LRCL).
Hence art. 30 of this law stipulates that for inheritance, the law of a country whose nationality the testator was in the moment of death, applies.
For capability of making testament the law of the country in the moment of drawing up testament applies.
Article 71 LRCL says that for on immovable inheritance of the RC citizen is exclusive jurisdiction of the Court of the RC if the inheritance is placed in the RC. 

If immovable inheritance of the RC citizen is placed abroad, jurisdiction of the RC applies only if  according law of a country in which immovables are placed is not a competent body of that state.
Jurisdiction of the Court of the RC for hearing moveable inheritance of the RC citizen exists only if movables are placed in the territory of the RC or if according law of state in which moveables are placed is not a competent foreign body i.e. if that body refuses to discuss matters on inheritance. Provisions refer also to jurisdiction in disputes arising from inheritance –legal relations and to disputes on claims of creditors towards inheritance.
Article 72 LRCL stipulates there is for hearing of immoveable inheritance of foreign citizen,  exclusive jurisdiction of the Court of the RC if immovables are in the RC.
For hearing of moveables of foreign citizen which is placed in the RC, the Court of the RC is competent, except if in country of testator is not competent the Court for hearing of moveable inheritance of the RC citizen. Provisions refer also to competence in disputes from inheritance legal disputes and to disputes on claims of creditors towards inheritance.
When there is no jurisdiction of the Court in the RC to hear inheritance of a foreign citizen the Court may impose injunction for inheritance security and for protection of a right toward inheritance placed in the RC.
Pursuant to art. 73 LRCL, for hearing of immoveable inheritance of a stateless person, persons whose nationality cannot be established or persons who have a status of refugee, there is an exclusive jurisdiction of the Court in the RC if immovables are placed in territory of the RC.

For hearing of moveable inheritance of stateless persons, a person whose nationality cannot be established or persons who have a status of refugee, there is jurisdiction of the Court of the RC if moveables are placed in the RC, or if testator in time of death had been living in the RC.

Provisions refer also to jurisdiction in disputes from inheritance legal relations and to disputes on claims  of creditors towards inheritance.
If testator was not living in the RC, adequate provisions are to be applied which are relevant for hearing inheritance of a foreign citizen, understanding under the foreign state, in which testator at time of death was living.
Article 177 IA regulates provisions on territorial jurisdiction according which territorial jurisdiction the dead testator was living, subsidiary the Court of place of domicile, subsidiary the Court in territory where was placed major portion of inheritance property and ultimately the Court according to the place in which the testator was registered in the register of citizens.
The transfer of property ''through generations" is unknown term in the inheritance legal system of the RC.
A contract about the apportionment of assets during life to be concluded by children (and other descendants), possibly marital partner and testator. This is valid if all descendants agree (and marital partner), that this apportioned testators property during life of testator and this property shall not represent inheritance property and none of descendants (and marital partner) have any subsequent claims.
The Family Law of the RC contains no provisions on power of attorney which would substitute legal capacity.
A person with no legal capacity is represented by legal representative or guardian nominated by competent body.
The legal system of the RC enables conclusion of prenuptial agreements. These agreements are to be concluded in written form. It is a sufficient that signatures of both marital partners are attested by notary.
The same agreements exist between de facto partners (they have equal legal position as well as marital partners), and they are concluded with written form and attested signatures of both de facto partners.

In same sex unions, art. 4 of the Same Sex Unions Act, stipulates that legal effects of existence of same sex union are: right to support one of partners; right to acquiring and regulating mutual relations concerning property (right to joint marital property) and right to mutual assistance.
Pursuant to art. 19 of the same law, same sex partners may conclude contracts on regulating inheritance-legal relations, on existing or future marital property and assets with required written form and attested signature of both partners.
Legislative body of the RC currently is not considering legislative reforms associated with any of the covered topics and hence it is neither debating on amendments of the Inheritance Act nor on amendments of the Family Law and Same Sex Unions Act.

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