Succession Law and Probate Proceedings

Succession Law in Austria

What can be inherited?

Probate law covers all legal consequences in the event of death. Close relatives such as children (including grandchildren and great-grandchildren), spouses, and, in the absence of children, parents will inherit as defined by law (hereditary succession). Beneficiaries can also be appointed in a written will. In that particular case the right to a compulsory portion for certain individuals has to be considered. People eligible for a compulsory portion can solely be those with a legal right to inherit.

All assets of the deceased are inheritable, including realty property including buildings, savings, jewelry, outstanding debt against different individuals, various rights (patent rights), but also debt is inheritable.

Personal privileges such as right of residence, personal services, business licenses, maintenance claims or similar are not inheritable.

How do you become an eligible beneficiary?

If you have been appointed beneficiary (either by law or in a last will/testamentary disposition), you can either accept or revoke the will. In case of acceptance, either a conditional or unconditional declaration of acceptance must be issued. A conditional declaration ensures the successor’s liability for only up to the amount of the inheritance, in the event of possible debt of the deceased. The rights and obligations of the deceased are still transferred to the beneficiary. In case of a conditional declaration a complete inventory of all of the deceased’s possessions has to be prepared in order to determine the value of the estate. In case of an unconditional declaration all rights and obligations are transferred to the successor entirely, including debt. The beneficiaries are then responsible even with their own assets.

Probate proceedings

Consultation and representation for probate proceedings in court or with notaries, as well as the completion of entire probate proceedings, is an area of expertise for the law firm Piccolruaz and Müller.

Our legal support spans all areas of planning and drafting testamentary dispositions such as last wills and inheritance, or donating contracts in the event of death, to procedural support in probate proceedings.

These proceedings are either executed with a notary public or during a process in a court of law fighting for a compulsory portion or succession rights. Provided all beneficiaries agree, we can also take on the entire procedure of probate proceedings in lieu of a court-appointed notary. The process is then executed in writing, saving nonlocal beneficiaries the necessary trips.

Compensation of caretakers

Since the last reform in succession law, any close person who took care of the deceased gratuitously for at least a period of six months within the past three years prior to death, has a right to a compensation. This is a compensation granted by law, and it is not required to be included in the will. The compensation is directed against the legal beneficiaries.

Our experts for succession and probate proceedings

Dr. Petra Piccolruaz

For many years, Dr. Petra Piccolruaz and Dr. Stefan Müller have been representing and supporting clients to claim their rights in connection with probate proceedings both in court and in extrajudicial settlements of disputes.

With the 2016 changes in succession law many questions remain open and require professional expertise. This is because several demands lose their validity rapidly.

Dr. Stefan Müller

In addition to consulting in succession law, our experts are also qualified to draft wills, donation contracts in the event of death, inheritance contracts, living wills and power of attorney.



Werdenbergerstraße 38
6700 Bludenz
Vorarlberg, Austria

Phone +43 5552 62 286
Fax +43 5552 62 286-18

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