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Settlement of estates with the help of the notary's office

Dr. Matthias Mlynek LL.M., MBL

After every death in Austria, probate proceedings are automatically initiated by the court. The aim is to ensure that all property-related matters are settled and that the assets are properly transferred to the heirs.

Notaries are appointed by law to conduct probate proceedings for the courts. This is one of the notary's most important and most frequent tasks. The law requires the procedure even if there are no assets in the estate.

As a "court commissioner", the notary assists the parties involved independently and impartially in handling the proceedings and provides them with comprehensive information about their rights and obligations.

The notary accompanies you from the first meeting (recording of the death) to the end of the proceedings. As an experienced lawyer, he will support you in the settlement of the inheritance, but also after the end of the probate proceedings, e.g. when registering your ownership rights in the land register or company register.

At the beginning of every probate procedure, the death is recorded. The notary will invite people who are familiar with the deceased's personal and property matters to this initial meeting. If available, the following documents should be brought along to this meeting:

  • List of next of kin (spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings)
  • Original wills, marriage contracts, inheritance and compulsory portion waiver agreements
  • Adoption certificates, court decisions on the appointment of guardians
  • Death costs: invoices, e.g. from funeral directors, headstone (order confirmation), funeral meal, flowers and grave decorations, grave care, obituary, funeral cards, each with confirmation of payment
  • Wage/pension: employer/insurance institution and social security number
  • Original passbooks; bank institutions and passbook numbers
  • Salary/pension accounts (last statements): Bank institutions and account numbers
  • Home loan and savings contracts (last statement) with building society and contract number
  • Other current accounts, custody accounts, securities (last statements): Bank institutions and account numbers
  • Lockers and safes: banking institutions and compartment numbers
  • Life insurance, death insurance: Insurance companies and policy numbers
  • Debts: outstanding care costs, hospital contributions, credit and loan debts, guarantees
  • for handguns: Firearms pass, firearms ownership card and firearms numbers
  • Real estate: land register and contribution number, assessment notice from the tax office
  • Vehicles: registration certificate or type certificate and insurance

Will - overview and purpose

A will is a written declaration by the testator to whom all or part of the assets available at the time of death are to be transferred. This declaration can be revoked at any time.

A will can be written by hand or by another person. In order to meet the strict formal requirements, the handwritten will and its entire text must be written and signed by hand by the person making the will.

If the text of the will is not written by the testator himself, but by someone else or, for example, by computer, witnesses are also required. Three persons are required who are not closely related to the heirs and who each sign this testamentary disposition with an addition indicating their capacity as witnesses.

An oral will is only valid in certain dangerous situations with the involvement of two witnesses. You should not wait until the last moment to make your "last will and testament". Contact your notary in good time. Together you can draw up a will that reflects your wishes. Your notary will not only help you to answer all the questions, but also to ask the right questions, for example:

  • Who do I want to consider after my death?
  • Do I want to pass things on in advance? For example, a house, an apartment?
  • What are my family circumstances?
  • Would I perhaps like to pass on individual items to someone in particular?
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