Inheritance and succession issues in relation to UK citizens with assets in Romania are one of the areas about which we are being asked more and more to advise upon. As a Romanian law firm whilst we deal and advise on succession in relation to all countries in respect of Romanian issues, I wish to look briefly at the position so far as a UK succession is concerned.
The United Kingdom together with Eire and Denmark did not sign up to the the uniform rules of Regulation (EU) No 650/2012 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and acceptance and enforcement of authentic instruments in matters of succession which also created the European Certificate of Succession. The rules apply whether the assets in Romanian consist of monies and chattels and goods or real estate. What is necessary is to obtain in Romania a “Certificate of Inheritance” and then armed with this the executor if there is a will, or the administrator if there is not a will can proceed to collect and distribute the assets in Romania.
To obtain such a certificate it is necessary to apply to a notary in Romania who will issue the Certificate of Inheritance. To issue the certificate he will wish to see:
1) The death Certificate (apostilled and translated into Romanian),
2) If there is a marriage, then the marriage Certificate (apostilled and translated into Romanian),
3) The identity document of the person applying, and
4) The grant of probate or the letters of administration (apostilled and translated into Romanian).
In relation to land which passes under a will or intestacy there will also need to be produced:
a. The Sale-Purchase agreement to the property (the original plus a copy)
b. The land Book Minute issued for the property,
c. A Fiscal Certificate issued in relation to the property which will show that all debts due to the Romanian State have been paid,
d. A Certificate from the Fiscal Authority which will state that the deceased has no debts due to the Romanian State,
e. For the new owner, it will be necessary for them to obtain a fiscal Identification Number from the Romanian Fiscal Authority. For the fiscal identification number to be obtained they can file a request personally or by a representative. If the request is to be made through a representative, then a power of attorney executed in front of a Notary public must be given to the person who will apply on behalf of the beneficiary.
f. We are aware that some Romanian notaries ask for a legal opinion related to the inheritance procedure, applicable legislation and documents issued in respect of the inheritance procedure in England. This is not always the case.
g. Depending on the assets involved and the age of the deceased and their marital status then statements must be given in respect of any children of the family and if one of the parties was married previously then there must be a statement as to any children if any of that family.
As with many things in Romania whilst the process appears simple as it progresses it can become more complex. However, it would be fair to say that in the majority of cases the process proceeds quickly and in a straightforward manner. As however the world becomes more commercialised and there are more and more cross border marriages then so far as we can see in relation to United Kingdom, Ireland and Danish citizens then the old law will prevail as it was before 2012.
The most important thing in our view is to ensure that all the correct documents are delivered to a Romanian law firm who has experience in these matters so that they can be checked. We have established a good working relationship with several local notaries who understand the challenges involved and are used to working with us to ensure that there is a little delay as possible. It is fair to say however, that most procedures may not follow the normal route for as like everything in Romania the position can change from day to day.
As to the question of Brexit and what will happen after Article 50 is triggered the European Regulations will never become part of English law and the old rules (prior to 2012) will continue to apply.