Inheriting Property in Malta

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March 12 11:11 2024 by The Editor Print This Article

Inheriting Property in Malta

A person may inherit property in Malta, either by virtue of a will or by virtue of operation of the law. 

A person inherits property by virtue of a will, either because the deceased person appointed him/her as an heir or because the deceased person left property to such person by way of a pre-legacy or a legacy. The will could have been made in Malta or in a foreign country. In case of a will having been made outside of Malta, a probate would be required. 

A person inherits property by operation of the law, when the deceased person died intestate and left no will. In such case, the law lists down the persons who are appointed as heirs, by reason of their relationship with the deceased. 

In either case, testamentary searches in Malta and Gozo need to be carried out. 

Key Legal Issues

  • Inheriting property in Malta
  • Estate Planning
  • Succession

Death Certificate & Testamentary Searches

In order for one to be able to order testamentary searches, the Public Registry must be notified of the demise. Following such notification and the submission of any documentation which the public registry might require, the public registry would be able to issue an official death certificate. To initiate the testamentary searches, the acquisition of the death certificate as issued by the public registry, is required. 

Following this, it is important that testamentary searches are carried out. These searches will indicate whether the deceased person died intestate or not. If the deceased person had made a will throughout his lifetime, the testamentary searches will reveal the wills made by the deceased and a further in-depth search, will reveal the contents of such wills. 

"When a person inherits property in Malta, a procedure needs to be undertaken for such person to have the property officially listed under his name."

Findings of Testamentary Searches 

The findings of the testamentary searches will determine the next steps which need to be undertaken. If a will is found to have been made by the deceased in Malta, then the estate of the deceased, will be regulated by such will. However, if in addition to the Maltese will, the deceased had made a will in another country, the applicable will to regulate his estate needs to be determined. This is determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on varying factors. If it is determined that the foreign will applies, a probate needs to be acquired, for such will to be enforceable in Malta. 

If the deceased did not leave any will behind, then the laws of intestacy kick in, for the law to regulate who shall be appointed as the deceased’s heir, depending on the relationship of such persons to the deceased. 

Declaration Causa Mortis

Once it has been determined that a person has inherited property in Malta, and the means by which such a person inherited such property, it is important that a declaration causa mortis (also known as “denunzja” in Maltese) is entered into by the heir. This is a document published by a notary in Malta, whereby the heir would be declaring the immovable property inherited in Malta and its value, based on a valuation of the property, which is prepared by an architect. Duty at the rate of 5% is paid on the market value of the property. Certain exemptions or deductions to this rate may apply, on a case-by-case basis. It is important that the declaration causa mortis is made in a timely manner, as failure to do so, may result in interest to be accrued on the amount of duty due. 

What this means for you

If you inherit property in Malta, it is important that certain steps are undertaken to ensure that the property is listed in your name and to secure your rights, according to Maltese law. 

How we can help

Our team regularly assists clients with these procedures to help them secure the property which is rightfully owned by them in Malta. Our lawyers are equipped with the necessary knowledge and experience to assist you in this procedure. Contact us for more information on how you can proceed to acquire the property which you inherited in Malta.