Know your rights: Regarding succession

Article 51 of Nº27/2016 of 08/07/2016 the law governing matrimonial regimes, donations and successions defines succession as “the transfer of rights and obligations on the assets and liabilities of the de cujus.” The phrase de cujus has a Latin origin and it means the person from whom the succession or inheritance is to be obtained.

According to article 52 of the law governing matrimonial regimes, donations and successions, succession begins when the de cujus is dead or declared dead in case of disappearance. The succession of a couple happens when both of them die or when one of them remarries.

Every legitimate child despite his/her sex is equally entitled to succession. This is according to article 54 of the law governing matrimonial regimes, donations and successions. Article 55 of the law governing matrimonial regimes, donations and successions defines people who are entitled to succession as heirs.

Being someone’s child or law heir, however, does not provide unconditional entitlement to benefits upon the death of that person. Article 56 of the law governing matrimonial regimes, donations and successions provides conditions under which a person is disbarred from succession.

One of the reasons for disbarment is being convicted of killing or attempting to kill the de cujus. Another reason is falsely accusing the de cujus of something that might have resulted in a term of imprisonment of six months or more.

The parent of a deceased person is disbarred from succession if he/she has been convicted of deliberately abandoning the person, committing an indecent assault, exposing him/her to sexual exploitation or sexually abusing him/her.

A child may be denied the right to succession if when the de cujus was alive; the child broke off parental relationships or intentionally refused to take care of him/her in time of need. This is according to article 57 of the law governing matrimonial regimes, donations and successions.

If it is found out that a person took advantage of the de cujus’ physical or mental inability to take part or all of the inheritance, it is reason for disbarment from succession. A person may also be disbarred for disposing of, destroying or altering the last will of the de cujus without their permission.

However, article 58 of the law governing matrimonial regimes, donations and successions says that if before dying the de cujus knows about reasons for a person’s disbarment and does not raise them, then such a person will not be disbarred.

 

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