The legal concept of inheritance is regulated in the Bulgarian Inheritance Act (IA). In accordance to the inheritance law of Bulgaria, the distribution of the estate of the deceased may follow in two ways: Chapter 2 of the Inheritance Act stipulates who and in what proportion should inherit by the provisions of the law; Chapter 3 of the Act deals with the legal provisions concerning inheriting by will (the document, also known in Common Law legal systems as “Last Will and Testament”). With the exception of inheriting by will, where the testator appoints his successor by the power of his own will and independently, diverging from the stipulations of intestacy by the power of law, the general principle in the Act is that the distribution of the deceased`s estate follows the rules of the legally stipulated succession order. The applicable legal provisions are to be found in Chapter 2 of the Inheritance Act. The circle of heirs comprises all relatives of the testator capable to inherit. The incapacity to inherit occurs in hypotheses that are numerus clausus and stipulated in Art.2 to 4 of the Act. In terms of the intestate succession, the relatives are divided into two groups: the relatives that descend from the testator and those who are of the same descent as him. The testator’s spouses represent a special category in the intestate succession given the fact that they do not belong to the testator’s blood line but hold own hereditary rights.

In total, there are 4 intestate levels whereby the precious excludes the successive. The intestate succession is as follows:


1st level


- Descendants of the testators, including adoptive children as well as legitimate and illegitimate children – thus all descendants where there is proof of a descent from the testator.

- Other descendants of the testator


2nd level


- The testator’s parents including adoptive parents whereby the biological parents do not hold hereditary rights if the child has been adopted completely.


3rd level


- The testators grandparents and their descendants

- The testators brothers and sisters and their descendants


4th level


- Collateral heirs from the third to the 6th level of inheritance


5th level


- The testators spouse that inherits along with the heirs from the 1st to the 3rd level and replaces the heirs of the 4th level.