14 Jun Inheriting in Uruguay
Inheriting in Uruguay
Inheritance and Succession Law
This area of the legal practice deals with all the issues of Family and Civil Law.
It includes matters of a personal nature and estate between spouses, and laws governing filiation, with a particular focus on aspects relating to the protection of minors and adoptions.
Do you need help with a succession or an estate in Uruguay? We can first start by defining “succession”. It is the legal process of transferring the property or estate of a deceased person to the appointed heirs.
In our law firm, we rely on our team of highly-qualified attorneys can effectively handle all of the legal details in relation to inheritance and successions.
Our estate lawyers have many years of experience in wills, estate planning, and successions. In addition, they know how to comply with all of the procedural requirements.
In fact, our Estate and Trust Administration practice group provides full services, from initial probate through final accounting and disbursements of assets.
Estate and Trust Administration
Proper estate and trust administration includes many steps, which differ in their level of complexity.
Consequently, during your first consultation at our law firm, we provide you with a detailed outline of the procedure necessary to effectively administer an estate or trust.
Moreover, we identify estate and trust administration issues, as well as determining the corresponding tax returns.
Communication is very important throughout the whole procedure. Thus, our estate/trust team will keep you constantly informed about the progress.
In general, our professional services include complying with the decedent’s last wishes and providing notice to all the necessary parties.
Moreover, we ascertain all liabilities in order to ensure payment, as well as to prepare insolvency pleading, if necessary.
Then, we guarantee a fair market value of the assets to reduce potential income tax liabilities.
In addition, we procure proceeds from life insurance policies and annuities, including income tax planning for retirement and annuity accounts.
Our in-house Accounting Department will be in charge or preparing the inheritance tax returns, federal and local estate tax returns, personal income tax returns, estate income tax returns, and gift tax.
Additionally, our certified accountants will also review for tax elections beneficiary to the client and/or estate or trust. They will also handle the post mortem tax planning to ease the tax burden on an estate, trust, or beneficiary.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is competent to make a will?
The person who draws up a will is called the testator/testatrix. Any person of legal age, that is, 18 years old and older, is competent to draft a will. This legal instrument will determine the distribution of the estate upon the death of the testator or testatrix.
However, there are some restrictions besides age. The testator/testatrix should prove that they have the legal and mental capacity to draft a will.
Who is competent to act as a witness to a will?
As we mentioned before, any person can act as a witness to a will, as long as they are not incompetent to give evidence in a court of law.
What are the requirements for a valid will?
The will should be in writing, either by hand, typed, or printed. The signature of the testator/testatrix should appear at the end of the will.
The testator/testatrix should sign the will in the presence of two or more competent witnesses.
The witnesses should attest and sign the will in the presence of the testator/testatrix and of each other. If the will consists of more than one page, the testator/testatrix should sign every single page.
On the other hand, the witnesses only need to sign the last page of the will.
What are the requirements for a valid will if the testator/testatrix cannot sign his/her name?
If the testator/testatrix cannot sign his/her name, he/she may ask someone to sign the will on his/her behalf, or he/she can sign the will by making a mark (a thumbprint or a cross).
In these cases, a Public Notary should be present in order to certify the identity of the testator/testatrix.
Can I amend my will?
The amendments to a will should comply with the same requirements for a valid will. When amending a will, the same witnesses who signed the original will need not sign the amended will.
When and how can a beneficiary claim the invested money?
A minor can claim the invested money, as well as the accrued interest, on reaching the age of majority (on his/her 18th birthday, marriage, or declaration of majority by the High Court).
However, a testator/testatrix can stipulate another age when a beneficiary has the right to the invested capital in their will.
The beneficiary can claim said amount by submitting a certified copy of the account holder’s ID or passport, marriage certificate, court order, and the verification of the applicant’s fingerprints.
Will I be able to leave whatever I want to whomever I want?
Under the name of “Freedom of Testation,” a testator used to be free to dispose of his property as he saw fit as long as he was mentally capable.
However, the right to disinherit a spouse became unacceptable because there was no real basis, moral or historical ground to do so.
By law, the surviving spouse receives a fixed share of the deceased person’s estate. In addition, the surviving children can apply to the Courts for part of the deceased’s estate, if no provision was made.
What happens if I do not leave a will (intestate succession)?
If you die without leaving a valid will, your estate will be subject to the rules of intestate succession. In case of a marriage in community of property, half of the estate belongs to the surviving spouse. Consequently, said part is excluded from the rules of intestate succession.
Who is a spouse for purposes of intestate succession?
According to the terms of the Marriage Act (Civil Marriage), any party to a valid marriage is regarded as a spouse for the purposes of intestate succession.
Some Potential Scenarios
In the event of intestate succession, what happens if the deceased has no surviving spouse or descendants, but both parents are still alive?
His/her parents will inherit the intestate estate in equal shares. If both parents are deceased too, the next of kin will inherit the entire intestate estate. Otherwise, the proceeds of the estate are transferred to the state.
What are the legal rights of adopted children?
Adopted children will be deemed to be the legal descendants of his/her adoptive parents, but not of their natural parents.
Do same-sex / unmarried couples have the same rights regarding inheritance as married couples?
In Uruguay, the surviving partner has a right to a share of the estate as if they were married. Many people are not aware of this, so it is very important to know your rights in this situation.
Similarly, this also applies to same-sex relationships.
The Government of Uruguay has recognized same-sex relationships.
Are donations to charities tax-free?
Donations or bequests to charities are usually tax-free, as long as said charity has obtained a ‘charitable status’ from the Revenue.
What happens with very sick or elderly people put under pressure to change their will?
A will should be made without any outside pressure or influence. Very sick or elderly people sometimes require a little help from other people. This help should not imply expecting something in return.
However, certain individuals, whether friends or family members, may have different expectations. In the past, many have tried to influence the decisions of sick or elderly people so that they will benefit from their death.
What does “beneficiary” mean?
(a) a person named in a will to receive all or part of an estate, or
(b) a person having a beneficial interest in a trust by means of a will.
Can you draft your own will?
Indeed. However, chances are that your last will lack the accuracy to convey your intentions. In addition, incorrect signing or witnessing can also cause difficulties, either for the validity of the will itself or for the beneficiaries.
Even though drafting your own will may save you a small amount of money in the short term, the long-term effects could be catastrophic for you and your heirs.