An important new introduction for inheritance cases with European aspects is the so called European Certificate of Succession (Article 62).
The use of the certificate is not mandatory and does not replace the national documents used in the Member States for similar purposes. However, if such an European Certificate of Succession is issued, it has direct legal consequences throughout the European Union, without the need for a special recognition procedure. Its objective is, in particular, to facilitate heirs, legatees with direct heirs and executors or other estate administrators in demonstrating their rights in one of the Member States. In particular, under Article 63 (2), the certificate might be used as an evidence of one or more of the following specific elements:
a) the legal status and / or rights of each heir or, if applicable, legatee mentioned in the certificate and their respective shares in the estate;
b) the attribution of a specific asset or assets of the estate to the person (s) named in the certificate as heir or, as the case may be, a legatee;
c) the powers of the person named in the certificate for the execution of the will or administration of the estate
A. Law suit procedure for granting in Bulgaria
The certificate will be issued upon request in the form of a form of heirs, legatees with direct heirs and executors or estate administrators. The application shall be submitted to the competent authority, determined by the applicable law – Court or other authority (competent for issuing certificates of succession in Bulgaria is the district court after last residence of the testator and in the absence of such - according to its last address in the country and in the absence of an address in the country - the Sofia district court - in accordance with Art. 627e ZPO). Each state has introduced its own issuing procedure, which differs from that of other member states (https://e-justice.europa.eu/content_general_information-166-bg-en.do?init=true&member=1). The Commission has an implementing regulation for the preparation of the forms to be used under the Succession Regulation.
The application should contain detailed information (if known to the applicant) and be accompanied by the relevant original documents or their copy, which complies with the conditions for confirming their authenticity, namely:
1. Details of the Testator; Details of the Applicant; Information on the potential representative of the applicant; Information about the spouse or partner of the testator and, if applicable, about former spouse or partner (s); Information on other possible claimants on the basis of an injunction and / or legal succession; the intended purpose of the certificate referred to in Article 63; The contact details of the court or other competent authority that is or has been involved in the inheritance as such, as appropriate; Elements to which the applicant may, if applicable, base his entitlement to the estate and / or his right to enforce the will of the testator and / or the right to administer his estate; an indication of whether the deceased had issued an injunction;
2. An indication of whether the deceased had concluded a marriage contract or a contract in relation to a relationship that had comparable effects with marriage (including a transcript); an indication of whether one of the claimants has made a declaration of acceptance or disclaimer of inheritance; a statement that, to the best of the applicant's knowledge, no litigation is pending with regard to the facts to be certified; other information deemed useful by the applicant for the issue of the certificate.
B. Examination of the Application
Upon receipt of the application, the issuing authority shall verify the information, declarations, documents and other evidence provided by the applicant. It shall, of its own motion, carry out the inquiries required for this review, to the extent its own law requires so or authorizes so, or request the applicant to provide further evidence that it deems necessary. The issuing authority may require that statements be made under oath or by affidavit.
The issuing authority will take all necessary steps to inform the claimants of the application for a certificate. It shall, if necessary for the determination of the matter to be certified, hear each party, executor or administrator of the estate and by public notice give other potential claimants the opportunity to assert their rights.
The competent authority of a Member State of the issuing authority of another Member State may, upon request, provide the information contained in particular in the land register, registers of civil status and registries registering documents or facts which are of relevance to the succession of Death or similar matrimonial property regime of the testator, provided that the competent authority has the power under national law to make such information available to another national authority.
C. Exhibition of the Certificate
The issuing authority shall issue the certificate without delay in accordance with the procedure laid down in this Chapter, if the facts to be certified are established in accordance with the law applicable to the succession or any other law applicable to a particular factual situation. The certificate will be issued in the form of a form, set out in the Implementing Regulation. The issue of the certificate will be refused if objections to the facts to be certified are pending; or if the certificate is incompatible with a decision on the same facts. The issuing authority will take all necessary steps to inform the claimants of the application for a certificate.
D. Effects of the Testimony
The European Certificate unfolds its effects in all Member States without the need for a special procedure.
It is presumed that the certificate correctly identifies the facts found under the law applicable to succession or another law applicable to specific situations.
It is presumed that the person named in the certificate as an heir, legatee, executor or administrator of the estate has the legal status and / or rights or powers set forth in the certificate and that those rights or powers are none other than that subject to conditions and / or restrictions set out in the certificate. Any person who makes payments or transfers assets to a person on the basis of the information contained in the certificate is deemed to be entitled to receive such certificate, in the certificate shall be deemed to have been a person entitled to receive the payments or assets, unless He knew that the testimony was incorrect in content or was not aware of it as a result of gross negligence.
If a person who is described in the certificate as being entitled to estate has the ability to estate for the benefit of another, then that person, if acting on the basis of the information contained in the certificate, will be deemed to be a person available from the property in question has acquired the beneficial owner, unless he knew that the certificate was inaccurate in content, or was not aware of it as a result of gross negligence. The certificate constitutes an effective document for the registration of the estate in the relevant register of a Member State (for example, in the case of succession for a property in the register of property with the Registration Office of the Republic of Bulgaria).
E. Certified Copies of the Certificate
The issuing authority shall keep the original of the certificate and issue one or more certified copies to the applicant and to any other person who demonstrates a legitimate interest. The issuing authority maintains a list of persons to whom certified copies have been issued.
The certified copies are valid for a limited period of six months, each of which is indicated in the certified copy by an expiry date. In duly justified exceptional cases, the issuing authority may deviate from this by granting a longer period of validity. At the end of this period, any person in possession of a certified copy must apply to the issuing authority for an extension of the validity of the certified copy or a new certified true copy in order to use the certificate for the purposes specified in the Regulation. The Regulation provides for the possibility of correction of the certificate in case of a detected technical error, modification or revocation, if it is determined that the certificate or individual elements thereof are incorrect. The issuing authority shall without delay inform all persons to whom certified copies of the certificate have been issued of a correction, amendment or revocation of the certificate.
IV. Recognition and Enforceability of Decisions
The decisions given in one Member State are recognized in the other Member States without the need for a special procedure. The principle was introduced and that is - treatment of a decision given in the Member State is inadmissible.
Judgments given in one Member State and enforceable in that State shall be enforceable in another Member State if, at the request of an interested party, they have been declared enforceable there (Article 43 of the Regulation).
V. Acceptance and enforceability of public documents
An authentic instrument established in one Member State shall have the same formal evidential value in another Member State as or more closely comparable to the one in the Member State of origin, unless that would be manifestly contrary to the public policy of the Member State concerned. A public document which is enforceable in the Member State of origin shall be enforceable in another Member State if, at the request of an interested party, it is declared enforceable by the court or the competent authority.