It is always useful to prepare for the future, even if thinking about a last will and testament could be somehow uncomfortable.
Such a document plays a great role in protecting both your loved ones and your assets in the case of an unfortunate event. And especially if you live in a foreign country, like Romania, it is preferable to know the rules and chose the best option in your case beforehand.
What happens if I do not make a last will?
There are two types of inheritance: legal inheritance and inheritance by will.
In Romania, if you do not have a written will, your goods will be divided between your successors (usually family members) after you pass away, according to the law. For example, if you have a surviving husband and a child, the husband will receive ¼ of your goods and money, while your child gets the rest. If you prepare a will, these fractions can be changed – for example, they each get ½ of the inheritance.
Your will can cover your entire inheritance or just a part of it. For example, you might divide your money between family members, but leave your estate to be shared between them according to the fractions mentioned in the law.
In short, dividing the inheritance according to the law is the rule, and preparing a will and testament is the exception. If there is no will, the law will decide.
When should I prepare a will?
Anybody can prepare a will, as long as they are healthy and in full legal capacity.
For example, if you start to suffer from a serious mental illness when you grow old, such as Alzheimer or Dementia, then the notary might not accept your will because you are no longer sane of mind.
Thinking about such uncomfortable situations might be difficult, but our general advice is that there’s never too early to make your will. Especially if you have children or other people who depend financially on you – if you have an unfortunate accident, this could leave them in a very vulnerable position.
So it is better to think of the worst, no the best, when talking about wills.
How can I prepare a last will and testament?
The best option is to make a will at a public notary in Romania. You can go to your local notary, show them a list of your assets and money in your bank accounts and explain which people should receive them after you pass away.
You can also leave money to charities, not only persons. And your will can also contain things that are not related to money, such as being cremated, having a certain type of ceremony at your death, being buried in a set place or your body to be transported to your home country. Any of these are possible and it is best to include them in a written document before your passing.
You should also designate an „executor testamentar”, a person who executes your testament and makes sure that your last will is carried out. They can take care of the money transfer to your chosen NGO, make sure you have the proper burial ceremony and so no. This executor should be informed beforehand and willing to carry out these tasks for you after your death.
So, take note, the notary only helps you draft your last will and writing and keeps it safe, he will NOT take care of any formalities himself.
Besides having a last will drafted at the notary, your other option is to write your will in full by hand and sign it („testament olograf”). But this is not as safe as going to the notary, who also keeps a copy of your will so it cannot be changed by a third party. Only you can change your will later. So if you change your mind at any moment, you can amend your will and the notary will note this in their public registries.
In all cases, you should know that a simple printed document signed by hand cannot act as a will and it shall not be taken in consideration after your passing.
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