Upon a person’s passing, the heirs may or may not take up the legal personality of the deceased and assume all assets and liabilities. In order to proceed with the opening of the estate, the heirs must hand in the deceased’s identity card to the Identity Malta Agency for the issuance of the death certificate. Once in hand, the Notary conducts two searches; one at the Public Registry and the other at the Civil Court (Voluntary Jurisdiction Section) and this so as to verify whether or not a will had been drawn up. The inheritance is subsequently determined as specified in the will/s; in absence of a will, the estate is determined according to law.

The heirs inheriting immovable property must declare such property via a declaration of transfer by causa mortis upon which succession duty is paid. In addition to this, the Notary would also, upon the necessary authorization granted by the heirs, handle all paperwork pertaining to the transfer of any moneys, shares, stocks, bonds, vehicles and other similar assets onto the rightful heirs.

In the event that the inheritance is not to be accepted, a deed of renunciation must be drawn up and published by a Notary.