The Succession Act regulates the last will and testament in Bulgaria.
Any person of full legal capacity can make testamentary dispositions with regard to his or her property.
A testator can dispose through a will of the whole of his or her property.
A will has no effect where the individual, in favour of whom it has been made, dies before the testator.
There are 2 types of wills in Bulgaria:
- a notarial testament
- a personally handwritten will
In all cases the last will and testament in Bulgaria cannot infringe upon the reserved share of an estate.
Descendants, parents and surviving spouse have the right to a reserved share.
The reserved share for descendants (including adoptees), when the deceased has not left a spouse, is as follows:
- in case of one child or descendants thereof – 1/2 of the estate of the deceased;
- in case of two or more children or descendants thereof – 2/3 of the estate of the deceased.
The reserved share for the parents or the surviving spouse is 1/3 of the estate of the deceased.
Where the spouse is the only heir, his or her reserved share is 1/2, and 1/3 where the deceased has also left his or her parents. In case where the deceased has left descendants and a spouse, the reserved share of the spouse is equal to the reserved share of each child.
An heir, having the right to a reserved share, who cannot take the full extent of said share due to wills or donations, can request their reduction to the extent, necessary to supplement his or her reserved share.
Notarial last will and testament
A notarial last will and testament in Bulgaria is executed by a notary public in the presence of two witnesses.
A testator verbally expresses his or her will to the notary, who shall write it as it has been expressed. After that, the notary public reads the will and the testator, the witnesses and the notary sign it.
In case where a testator disposes real estate, he or she must present a Certificate of a tax valuation of the property. The notary fees are percentage of the assessed value of the property.
The notary public registers the will with the Registry Agency.
Personally handwritten will
A personally handwritten will must be entirely written, dated, and signed in the handwriting of the testator. It may not be typed, printed out or otherwise mechanically prepared. The signature and the full name of the testator must be placed below the testamentary dispositions.
The will can be transmitted for keeping to the notary in a sealed envelope. In this case the notary drafts a protocol on the envelope.
A person, who has possession of a personally handwritten will, must as soon as he or she becomes aware of the testator’s death, request its disclosure by the notary.
The notary public registers the will with the Registry Agency. The register contains only information about the name and the personal identification number (date of birth) of the testator, as well as the notary who keeps the will. There is no information about the text of the will itself.
As soon as the notary becomes aware of the testator’s death, the notary discloses the text of the will. In case of testamentary dispositions of real estates, a Certificate of a tax valuation of the property shall be presented before the notary. The notary fees are percentage of the assessed value of the property.
Revocation of last will and testament
The testamentary dispositions can be explicitly revoked with a new will or a notarial act, whereby a testator explicitly declares, that he or she entirely or partially revokes any previous testamentary provisions.
A subsequent will, which does not explicitly revoke the previous one, revokes only the provisions, which are incompatible with the new one.
Inheritance tax is levied on the estate located within Bulgaria.
The surviving spouse and the lineal heirs without restraint do not pay an Inheritance tax.
The tax rate is as follows:
- from 0.4 to 0.8 % per portion in excess of BGN 250,000 – applicable to siblings and the children of siblings;
- from 3.3 to 6.6 % per portion in excess of BGN 250,000 – applicable to any other heirs.
Within six months after the opening of a succession, the taxable persons have to submit an inheritance tax return to the municipality exercising competence over the last fixed abode of the ancestor.
The tax is payable within two months after receipt of the notice from the municipality.