The Civil Code recognizes two legal grounds of succession. It is possible to inherit (i) under the testament or (ii) by operation of law. Testamentary succession takes precedence.
Who can set up a testament in Slovakia?
Testament can be established only by a natural person. The condition is that at the time of the establishment of testament has full legal capacity. The law also allows to set up a testament to the person who reached the 15. year of age. Here, however, requires the drafting of testament in the form of a notarial deed. The law does not allow the joint testament of more testators. In case if such testament is established, is invalid. Through testament may be appointed as heir a natural person, legal person or the state.
Appurtenances of testament
The condition of validity of testament is to meet the essential requirement. Testament must contain the explicit indication of will of the testator, ie. from testament must be obvious the will of the testator to appoint some persons as heirs and determine their share of the inheritance. If the testator in his testament does not determine the shares of heirs, their shares will be the same. Other element of the validity of testament is its written form. Testament must also include the day, month and year when it was signed. If testament does not contain these elements, it is absolutely void under § 39 of the Civil Code.
Types of testaments
The law recognizes the testament written either by own hand, or in the presence of witnesses established in other written form. Another possibility is its establishment in the form of notarial deed. We distinguish:
A) Holographic testament
It is a testament which entire text is written by the testator´s own hand. Such a testament shall be also personally signed by the testator. In drafting such a testament it is necessary to be aware that if any of the formalities of testament, even the date is not written in the testator´s own hand, such a testament will be invalid in its entirety.
B) Allographic testament
For allographic testament is considered testament established in another written form. The condition of its validity, in addition to the general requirements is the signing by the handwritten signature of the testator and the confirmation by two witnesses present at the same time that the document contains the testator´s last will. Witness confirm expression of the will of the testator by their signatures on the text of a testament. The law explicitly states that the witnesses can only be persons who are eligible for legal actions. Vice versa, witnesses can not be persons who are blind, deaf, dumb or do not know the language in which the expression of the will is made, or persons who are to inherit under the will.
If the testator can not read or write, the law requires to express the last will before three witnesses present at the same time in a document which must be read and signed by the present witnesses. The testator must also confirm before witnesses that the document captures his last will. The witnesses must also sign the document. Writer as well as pre-reader can be a witness. However, the condition is that the writer must not be also the pre-reader. The document must also specify that the testator can not read or write, who wrote the document and who read out and how the testator confirmed that the document contains his true will.
C) Drawn up in the form of a notarial deed
The testator may also ask the lawyer for drafting a testament. Unlike a notary, lawyer is not authorized to testamentary capacity in the form of a notarial deed. According to Notary Code testament drawn up by a notary in the form of a notarial deed must be registered in the Notarial central register of wills who leads the Chamber of Notaries of the Slovak Republic. After the notary is appointed as a court commissioner in probate proceedings of the testator, requests the Chamber of Notaries of SR for notification whether it registers the will of the testator.
By a notarial deed may express their last will deaf persons who can not read or write. The second option is the expression of the will at the presence of three witnesses who master sign language and will sign the document. The document containing such a person´s will must be translated into sign language. In the document must be stated that the testator can not read or write, who wrote the document and read out and what way the testator confirmed that the document contains his true will.
Minors descendants of the testator, regardless of whether they are marital or extramarital descendants, shall receive from the inheritance of the testator at least as much as presents their share in the estate of the law resp. reserved share. Adult descendants shall receive from the inheritance at least as much as would represent half of their share if there was a statutory intestate succession. If the testament was contrary to the mentioned, it would be void in that part if omitted heir applies this annulment. That, however, would not be applied if there was a disinheritance of given descendants.
Revocation of testament in Slovakia
The person who set up the testament has the opportunity to change until his death his view and modify the method of inheritance of his property otherwise.
- the testator may establish a new valid testament, besides which the previous testament can not be accepted
- the testator has the option to revoke his will
- a final revocation of a testament is the physical destruction of the document, on which was written a will, by the testator
Cumulation of succession titles
As mentioned at the outset, the legal heirs inherit it the testator did not leave any testament, or if testament of part of it is invalid. Similarly, the succession of the law started when heritage does not acquire a person who is designated in the testament. If there is no valid testament or if the person who should inherit under the applicable testament does not use this right (for example dies before the testator or refuses heritage), started the intestated succession and the legal heirs will inherit.
However, it is not excluded that the same person inherits part of the property under a testament and part of it inherit from the law. The above occurs especially if the heir is not entitled to refuse the inheritance obtained by testament and derived from the law to retain or vice versa. The heir either accepts the entire inheritance or rejects the entire inheritance.