Formalizing an acceptance of inherited property in the RA
In accordance with Part 1 (one) of Article 1227 of the Civil Code of the Republic of Armenia, Armenian heirs may accept the inheritance in the six month period from the date of its validity. If for any reason the inheritance is not accepted at the end of six months, then it passes to the other heirs next in line, or in their absence, to the heirs next in line and so on. If the period for acceptance of inherited property is omitted, restoring the inheritance rights in the Republic of Armenia can be done only by court order. Please note that this is a rather complicated procedure and for its successful implementation, we recommend that you seek the assistance of a real estate lawyer in Yerevan and/or the rest of the Republic of Armenia.
Coming into an inheritance
Coming into an inheritance in the Republic of Armenia takes place in the following ways:
- By addressing the appropriate notary office with a statement of acceptance of inherited property within six months from the date of death of the relative;
- By actual adoption of the inheritance; this means that during this six month period one must begin to use the property as their own, including pay the household bills and/or spend on refurbishment.
The actual adoption of the inheritance is not so simple, very often there are missing documents from the heirs, which confirm the actual use of the property. Sometimes it is necessary to issue the statement of inheritance, which was owned by several persons, who did not fully enjoy their rights. In such situations the inheritance can only be granted through the court after the submission of the necessary evidence.
There are times when it is necessary to recognize the right to the property which goes from, say, grandma to grandson, and then to his sister, and then to his father’s brother. If above mentioned persons did not use the notary offices and have only occasionally used the apartment, then there may be difficulty in proving living circumstances, such as, payment of utility bills and general use of premises. There are times when it is necessary to prove the commission of all these actions for a very long time, five to ten years, many documents can be lost or simply not survive this time period.
All foreign citizens and persons without citizenship, along with the citizens of the Republic of Armenia have the right to inherit property freely in the Republic of Armenia, including an apartment or private home with adjacent land, without any permits. An exception is a land located in the hereditary property. According to the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, foreign citizens and stateless persons do not have the right to own private land in the Republic of Armenia. For a foreign citizen and/or a stateless person to have right of ownership to land, they must have a special residence status in the Republic of Armenia, which is confirmed by a special certificate.
Skipping the period for acceptance of the inheritance:
When one misses the six month period for acceptance of inherited property, one loses the right to claim the inheritance. However, the RA legislation provides that, if the acceptance of the inheritance deadline was missed for valid reasons, the court has the right to recover the period for acceptance of the inheritance. These reasons may be varied, for example, a serious illness that does not allow one to lead a normal healthy life, cheating and other unfair actions by the other heirs, being in a combat zone on duty and other cases. It is worth noting that the other heirs can give their consent to the transfer of the share of the property to the heir that missed the deadline of six months.
If an application to notary office with the view to accept the inheritance has not been submitted, but the heir, including in the case of legal inheritance, started to use any part of the inheritance within six months and has the appropriate proof of this, it is considered to be in legacy towards the whole property. If he/she turns to a notary for the acceptance of the inheritance in Yerevan and/or the rest of the Republic of Armenia, or to the court with the evidence, the latter are obliged to issue a certificate of inheritance or make a decision on the recognition of the right to all of the estate.
Proof of actual and factual use:
The Armenian courts are very thorough and rigorous in their approach to the issues of the actual entry into inheritance by law. The entry into inheritance by will, in connection with the actual possession and use of property before the expiration of the period for acceptance of the inheritance, are not provided by the law of the RA. It is necessary to provide clear and compelling evidence that, for example, the apartment has been used by the applicant otherwise the courts may refuse to recognize the inheritance rights of the applicant.
We have already mentioned the evidence and below we explain some of them. Factual use of the property by the applicant can attest a document certifying registration in the inherited apartment, or stamp affixed to the Passport by Visa Department at the Police of the Republic of Armenia, the testimony of neighbors and relatives in court. However, before the testimony one needs to collect the required documentary evidence. Among other equally important proof and/or evidence may be receipt(s) confirming the payment of utility bills and tax payments, such as property tax, as well as, documents showing payment for the repairs, such as contract and an act of acceptance of work performed.
We strongly recommend that you take very seriously your inheritance rights. Should you need to formalize an inheritance in the vicinity of Yerevan and the rest of the Republic of Armenia, and you missed the timing of its adoption, please get in touch with ‘Vardan Khechyan LLC’ at first opportunity. Our legal experts have extensive experience in matters of inheritance law in the RA.