Last Will and Testament in Bulgaria
According to Article 13 of the Inheritance Act of Bulgaria, each person having reached the age of 18 may dispose with his property given he/she is able to act independently and reasonably. The Last Will declares the last will of the testator. It is a unilateral, formal, strictly personal, revocable transaction. This last disposal about ones assets may be confirmed in a will. With his testation, the testator may dispose of his/her entire assets or only parts of it. The testator may dispose of his entire assets provided that he does not infringe the legal portion of the inheritance.
Article 16 (2) of the Inheritance Act regulates the testator’s possibility to dispose of only parts of his assets. If he decides to do so, inheritance by a testament is present. Principally, the Last Will grants only rights and does not impose obligations on the inheritor. The will is to be drawn by the testator himself. The will may be drawn under a special condition or encumbrance. Another form of the will in writing is the will in notarial form.
By request of the testator, the will may be given for safekeeping to a notary public or a third party.
According to Bulgarian law, there are two kinds of wills – the notarial will and the handwritten will.
According to Article 24 (2) of the Inheritance Act, the notarial will is drawn by the notary in the presence of two witnesses. The notary draws the testator’s will which is to be signed by the testator, the two witnesses and the notary himself. Date and location of the drawn up will must appear on the signed will. Mostly, the notarial form of the will is seen as a guarantee for security.
According to Article 25, the handwritten will must be written entirely by hand, personally by the testator. The handwritten will may be given for safekeeping to a notary or a third party. Article 25 indicates that a handwritten will must be written by hand only and that no other imprint is allowed. Furthermore, underneath the text, the will must be signed with the testator’s full name and not only his signature.
Repealing of the will
The repeal of a testamentary disposition is possible in the cases provided in Article 38 of the Bulgarian Inheritance Act: by drawing a new will or a notarial document expressing the testator’s explicit wish to withdraw a Last Will.
Not only the testator may dispose of his assets, also the inheritor is entitled to accept or to waive the testamentary legacy to protect his own assets from “bad legacy” (in case of insolvent estate).
A will may be null in the following cases (Article 42 inheritance law):
- When the testamentary disposition has been made in favour of a person who does not have the right to receive by devise;
- If the requisites or the form of the Last will as provided by the Act have not been met;
- If the motive or the disposition itself are contrary to the law, public order or moral.