The third chapter of the Inheritance Act (ZD) governs the field of inheritance on the basis of a will.
The ZD states that anyone who is capable of adjudication and has reached the age of fifteen can make a will. A will is invalid if the testator was under the age of fifteen at the time it was made or was incapable of adjudication. A loss of judgment, however, shall not affect the validity of a will if it occurred after the will was made.
A will is invalid if the testator is forced to make it by threat or force, or if he chooses to make it through deception or error. Even if it comes from a third party, a threat, force, or deception will invalidate the will. Testamentary dispositions are invalid even if the testator was deceived about the facts that led to such dispositions. If only certain provisions of the will are made under the influence of threat or force, by deception or error, then only those provisions are invalid.
The revocation of a will due to the testator’s inability to adjudicate or because the testator was under the age of fifteen years, as well as the revocation of the will or individual provisions of the will due to threat or force, by deception or error, may be requested only by the person having a legal interest, within one year of becoming aware of the cause of invalidity, but no later than ten years from the declaration of the will. The one-year limitation period cannot begin until the will is declared. However, a will against a dishonest person may be revoked twenty years after its declaration.
A will is valid if it is made in the form and under the conditions prescribed by law. According to the ZD, there are several types of wills: a holographic will; a written will in front of witnesses; a judicial will; a judicial will if the testator cannot or is unable to read it; a will drawn up abroad; a will drawn up on a Slovenian ship; a will drawn up during a state of emergency or war; an international will; and an oral will.
The invalidity of a will due to errors in form may be invoked only after the imposition of the succession law by a person having a legal interest within one year of becoming aware of the will, but no later than ten years after the will was declared. The one-year limitation period cannot begin until the will is declared. A will that is destroyed, lost, hidden, or misplaced by accident or by the act of another, whether after the testator’s death or before his death, but without his knowledge, has the effect of a valid will if the affected party proves that the will existed, that it was destroyed, lost, hidden, or misplaced, and that it was drawn up in the form prescribed by law, and if they prove the contents of that part of it to which they refer.
The testator must name one or more heirs in the will. The heir to the will is the person named by the testator to inherit all or a portion of his estate. An heir is also defined as someone to whom the testator has left one or more specific items or rights in the will, if it can be proven that it was the testator’s intention for them to be his heir. The testator may also specify in his will who will receive the inheritance if the specific heir dies before him, renounces the inheritance, or becomes unworthy to inherit. The same applies for bequests. He cannot, however, appoint an heir to his heir or a legatee. The testator may include one or more bequests in his will. He may also direct that any thing or right, whether part of the estate or the entire estate, be used for any permitted purpose. He may impose a duty on the person who receives any benefit from the estate. He may include conditions or deadlines in the will’s individual provisions. Conditions and burdens that are impossible, unauthorised, and immoral, as well as those that are incomprehensible or contradict each other, are deemed to be absent. To determine the heirs, legatees, and other persons to whom a benefit is determined in the will, it is sufficient if the will contains information from which they can be identified. The provisions of the will must be interpreted in light of the true intent of the testator. If there is any doubt, it is necessary to follow what is more beneficial to the legitimate heir or the person to whom the will imposes an obligation.
The testator may always revoke the will, in whole or in part, by making a statement in any form permitted by law. He may also revoke the written will by destroying it. If the subsequent will does not expressly revoke the previous will, the provisions of the previous will continue to apply to the extent that they are not in conflict with the provisions of the subsequent will. If the testator destroys a subsequent will, the previous will is reinstated unless it is proven that this was not the testator’s intention. Any subsequent disposition of the testator with regard to a specific thing that he has bestowed upon someone results in the revocation of that bestowing.
The testator may leave one or more specific items or rights to a specific person in his will, or he may order the heir or someone else to whom he leaves something to give something or pay a sum of money to a specific person, excuse them of some debt, sustain them, or do, abandon, or suffer something in their favour. As a general rule, such disposition shall not be determined by the heir. Such a disposition is known as a bequest, and the person to whom it is intended is known as a legatee. The legatee has the right to demand the fulfilment of the bequest from the person who is ordered to fulfil the bequest by the will. If the fulfilment of the bequest is imposed on several persons, each of them is liable for the proportional share of the estate they receive, unless it is clear from the will that the testator intended them to answer differently. If the testator has not specified who must fulfil the bequest, all legal and testate heirs are obligated to do so in proportion to their respective shares. The creditors of the testator have the right to demand payment before the legatees. The heir is not required to fully fulfil bequests whose value exceeds the value of the inherited property that the testator was free to dispose of. The same applies to the legatee if the value of the bequests or burdens to be fulfilled exceeds the value of his bequest. In such cases, unless the testator has determined otherwise, all bequests and burdens are reduced in the same proportion. The legatee has the right to demand that the bequest be fulfilled even if the person who was obligated to fulfil the bequest under the will died before the testator, gave up the inheritance, or is unworthy of inheritance. The bequest is extinguished if the legatee dies before the testator, renounces the bequest, or is unworthy of it. In such cases, the object of the bequest shall remain with the person who should have fulfilled it, unless it is clear from the will that the testator had another intention. The bequest is also extinguished if the testator disposes of or uses the bequest object, or if the object ceases to exist for the testator’s life, or if it is accidentally destroyed after his death. The legatee shall not be liable for the testator’s debts. However, the testator may order that the legatee be held liable for all or any of his debts, or for a portion of any debt up to the value of the bequest. If the testator has assigned a bequest to a creditor, the creditor has the right to demand payment of his claim in addition to the fulfilment of the bequest if the testator’s will does not indicate otherwise. The right to demand the fulfilment of the bequest expires one year after the legatee learned of his right to demand the fulfilment of the bequest.