Testament

The Slovak legal system knows the institution of succession by intestacy, by testament or by both reasons.

The best solution accepting the last will of the deceased - is a testament. A testament constitutes a legal act, by which the testator appoints an heir (successor) or sets their shares or legal interests (jura in re) that should fall to the heirs.

If you have decided to draw up a testament, you should consider the formalities and appurtenances required for a valid testament. You may of course dispose only of your property and in your last will you cannot deprive the so-called forced heirs, i.e. the children and grandchildren of the testator. You also cannot oblige the heirs how they should dispose of the succession. The best way is to approach a notary, which is qualified to provide you with useful advice and also help you to draw up the testament as such. The notary will make sure that the testament is valid and incontestable for the case of future disputes. A notarial protocol is a public deed of higher probative force than any other contractual agreement.

How to draw up a testament?

a)     By hand: A testament may be written and signed by one's own hand. It is a so-called holographical testament. Such testament shall contain the date and the testator's autographical signature. Such testament needs not to be signed by any witnesses. It is advisable to inform the family that a testament exists and where it is kept. Should after your death the testament not be found in time, intestate succession shall be applied, i.e. as if there were no testament at all. The limitation period with testaments is three years. The smartest solution is to deposit the testament in the Central Notary Register of Testaments maintained by our Chamber of Notaries.

b)     With a typewriter: A testament may be written also on a typewriter or computer, but in this case, it needs to be signed before two witnesses, testifying (in a separate deed) that it constitutes a manifestation of your last will. Do not forget to date and sign the testament, since otherwise the testament will not be valid.

c)     Special form of testament: In cases when the testament's author is in bad health condition, blind, deaf, unable to read and write - we call it a special form of testament. Three witnesses must be present in such case, which will read the text of the testament aloud and confirm it by their signature. The testament must state, who has written and read the testament. The witnesses of the testament may be only legally capable persons, which must not be blind, deaf, mute or not understanding the language in which the testament is drawn up. Impermissible witnesses are also the legal heirs or persons affiliated to them.

d)     In the form of a notarial protocol: A testament may be also drawn up as a notarial protocol, the advantage of which is the option of legal counselling as well as the obligatory registration of the testament in the Central Notary Register of Testaments, which is interlinked throughout Slovakia and thanks to which you can be sure that the testament will be available when the succession is dealt with (the judicial commissioner is obliged to screen that register). In the lifetime of the testator, no other person is allowed to view that testament. The notary is also liable for the formal aspects as well as the content of the testament.

With respect to the importance of this legal act, the Chamber of Notaries recommends the citizens to let the testament drawn up by any notary in the Slovak Republic.


 

Testament withdrawal

You need not be afraid of possible changes in family relations. A testament can be cancelled anytime, either by a newer testament drawn up later, by revoking a testament or simply by destroying the deed (this is not possible with notarial protocols of course).

 

Inheritance of debts 

You should also bear in mind that up to the amount of the acquired succession, the heir is also responsible for adequate costs pertaining to the testator's funeral as well as his/her debts, which got devolved to him along with the succession. If there are several heirs, they must share those costs in the proportion of the acquired property. If the succession is over-indebted, i.e. the debts actually exceed the value of the property, to the heirs may agree with the creditors that they will cede the succession to them for repaying the debts. Such an agreement however, needs to be approved by the court.