A will in Malta is predominantly made before a notary. We publish wills and advise on the different rules that one must bear in mind when planning one’s inheritance to ensure the smoothest and cheapest transition of one’s assets to his loved ones.
A will is a legal instrument through which a person leaves legally binding instructions as to how his assets are to be disposed of after his death. Wills may be either public or secret.
A public will must always be received by a notary public in the presence of two witnesses and enrolled in the Public Registry. A public will’s contents remain secret until the death of the testator (the person who made the will). However, third parties may know that an individual has made a will even during the latter’s lifetime.
A secret will is deposited in the Court Registry and may only be opened after the testator’s death and by the authorization of the Court in the presence of all interested parties who are notified by means of a court notice. During one’s lifetime, third parties have no means of knowing that a secret will has been made. The contents of a secret will may even be kept hidden from the notary and the witnesses.
Married couples may opt for an unica charta (joint) will.
What happens if a person dies intestate?
In this case, the person’s estate will devolve upon his heirs-at-law according the laws of the intestate succession. The law recognises certain family members as being the next of kin entitled to inherit the deceased’s property.
A court application (rikors) will have to filed before the Civil Court (Voluntary Jurisdiction Section) by the persons demanding the opening of succession in their favour. A notice of this application is published in the Malta Government Gazette and in at least one commercial newspaper. This will enable anyone who has a claim to that succession to come forward in the period indicated in this notice. Following this, a Court decree will be issued declaring the succession open in favour of the heirs-at-law.
Our Service & Commitment at James Grech & Associates – Notaries Public:
Contact us for more information or to make an appointment in relation to the drawing up of a will.
Yes, it is possible to nominate each others as sole heirs. This will give the surviving spouse absolute power over the disposal of any assets belonging to the pre-deceased spouse without the need to obtain the children’s consent for any sale, capital withdrawal etc. Nevertheless, the children may demand the reserved portion due to them by law after the death of the first parent. The reserved portion amounts to one-third of all the deceased’s estate if the children are less than five in number, and to one-half of all the deceased’s estate if the children are five or more in number.
No. An unica charta will may only be made by a married couple. The best solution would be to enter into two separate wills which provide mirror dispositions.
The law does not grant you an automatic right to continue residing in the house after her death on account of the fact that you’ve been living there for a significantly long time. You will only be entitled to continue residing there in one of these circumstances:
In the absence of one of the above the scenarios, the heir/s will have the right to take possession of the property. Even if you are one of the heirs and there is no specific mention of a right of habitation/usufruct, then the other heirs may legitimately object to your continued possession of the property.