As we have already discussed in the previous article, inheritance in the Republic of Slovenia is regulated by the Inheritance Act (ZD). Among other things, the aforementioned Act (Articles 25 to 45) regulates the area of direct heirs, which we will focus on in this article.
In the Inheritance Act, it is stipulated that the direct heirs are the deceased’s descendants, their adopted children and their descendants, their parents and their spouse (absolute direct heirs). Grandfathers, grandmothers, brothers and sisters of the deceased are direct heirs only if they are permanently incapable of work and do not have the necessary means of subsistence (relative direct heirs). The listed persons are direct heirs if they are entitled to inherit according to the legal hereditary order.
Direct heirs have the right to a part of the estate that the deceased cannot dispose of – this part of the estate is a direct share. The direct share of descendants, adopted children, and their descendants, as well as their spouses, shall result in half of the estate, and the direct share of other heirs shall be one-third of the share that would go to each of them according to the legal hereditary order. The testator has complete control over the remainder of the estate, which is the disposable part.
The direct heir receives a percentage of everything and every right in the estate. The testator may also specify that the direct heir receives a share of certain items, rights, or money.
In the Inheritance Act, the method of determining the value of the estate on which the direct share is calculated is determined. First of all, it is necessary to list and value all of the testator’s property at the time of their death, including the property they had in their will, as well as all of their claims, including those they have against an heir, with the exception of clearly irrecoverable claims. The testator’s debts, the costs of inventory and estate assessment, and the costs of their funeral are deducted from the determined value of the property that the testator owned at the time of their death. The value of gifts given by the testator in the last year of their life to persons other than the legal heirs, other than the usual minor gifts, is added to this. The calculation excludes and does not include the value of charitable and other humanitarian gifts, as well as gifts that are not legally included in their inheritance share.
In determining the direct share, no account shall be taken of those persons who, according to the legal hereditary order, would be considered heirs but are hereditary unworthy or have been disinherited, nor of those persons who could become legal heirs but renounced the inheritance for themselves and their descendants prior to the introduction of inheritance.
The Inheritance Act also regulates the deprivation of the direct share, which occurs when the deceased’s testamentary dispositions and gifts to the living exceed the value of the available part of the estate. If the direct share is not obtained, the testamentary dispositions are reduced, and gifts are returned in the amount necessary to supplement the direct share. When calculating the total value of testamentary dispositions and gifts, the deceased’s gifts and testamentary dispositions must be taken into account, as well as those gifts and testamentary dispositions that the deceased directed not to be credited to the direct heir in their inheritance share. Only the extent to which gifts and testamentary dispositions exceed the direct heir’s direct share is considered in determining the total value of testamentary dispositions and gifts. If the direct share is not obtained, the testamentary dispositions are reduced first, followed by the gifts. Unless otherwise specified in the will, testamentary dispositions are reduced in the same proportion regardless of their nature and scope, and regardless of whether they are in one will or several wills. If the testator left several wills and directed that one be paid before the others, the direct share will be reduced only if the value of the other wills is insufficient to cover the direct share. Unless otherwise specified in the will, a testamentary heir whose hereditary share should be reduced to supplement the direct share may request a proportionate reduction in the will to be paid. The same applies to a legatee who has been ordered by the testator to pay from his estate. Gifts are returned in the reverse order in which they were given. Gifts given at the same time shall be returned proportionately.
Only direct heirs have the right to request a reduction in testamentary dispositions and the return of gifts that deprive them of their direct share. Within three years of the declaration of the will, a direct heir may request a reduction in testamentary dispositions. The direct heir may request the return of gifts within three years of the testator’s death or the day on which the decision establishing their death became final.
The testator may, under certain conditions, withdraw or reduce the direct share to the direct heir. This is aimed at two legal institutes: dissolution of the direct inheritance (to punish the direct heir for his inadmissible behaviour towards the deceased and persons close to them or for their inappropriate life) and removal of the direct share in favour of the descendants (to protect the property interests of the descendants of the deceased’s descendant who has the right to the direct share).