Wills and Probate

Wills and Probate

If you own property in Portugal and are not a Portuguese Citizen it is always advisable to make a Portuguese Will.

Probate should be started in the Finanças (Tax Office) before the end of the third month following death. This can be actioned in Portugal with a Portuguese Will and a declaration of Law of the country of nationality.

Once the first stage of Probate is in place it is then up to the “cabeça de casal” (nearest heir) or executor if one has been nominated, to register the inheritance and/or divide up the assets. It is not a legal requirement to nominate an executor unless the testator wishes to do so.

A Portuguese Will must be made at a Notary, it is usual to get one drawn up by a Solicitor and then implemented at the Notary’s office. Two Portuguese speaking witnesses are required plus, if the testator does not speak Portuguese fluently, a translator and all parties, including the Notary, must sign the Will. One certified copy is given to the Testator and the original is kept in a central archive and is only accessible by a third party upon production of a death certificate. By having one central archive it is simple to carry out a search to see if a subsequent Will has been made.

Although this process has costs it avoids future complications.

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