Jakob Weinrich, LL.M. - Your lawyer in Vienna.

Inheritance law - when it is better to make a will and what you should pay attention to when doing so

The decision to write a will often raises questions. However, some dismiss this idea on the grounds that the law regulates everything. But can you really be sure that the law accurately reflects your last will and testament? Family situations are diverse and life circumstances change. It is therefore particularly advisable to draw up a will to meet individual needs. Find out more about the importance of a will and how it can safeguard your wishes under inheritance law.

Austrian inheritance law offers various legal bases for succession. If there is no testamentary disposition such as a will, statutory succession applies. The parentel system plays a decisive role here by regulating the distribution of assets among relatives. In the first line, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren (1st parentel) inherit, followed by parents, siblings, nephews and nieces (2nd parentel). The subsequent parenteles include pairs of grandparents and their descendants, uncles, aunts, cousins (3rd parentel), and pairs of great-grandparents without descendants (4th parentel). Understand the importance of this structure in Austrian inheritance law and how a wise testamentary disposition can influence the distribution of your assets.

In addition, there is the right to a compulsory portion, which ensures that those entitled to a compulsory portion may not be ignored. Those entitled to a compulsory portion are entitled to at least half of their statutory inheritance rights.

A will is essential to ensure that your assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes. With a will, you can not only exclude the statutory succession, but also reduce the entitlement of those entitled to a compulsory portion or, in extreme cases, even exclude the compulsory portion (disinheritance). This means that people or friends who are not legal relatives can also be effectively considered and protected. A will also makes it possible to specify benefits to third parties, such as charitable organizations. Please note that with a will you can choose the law of the country to which you belong at the time of the choice of law or at the time of your death. Find out more about the many possibilities of a will in the context of the right to a compulsory portion.

In addition to the content of a will, special attention must also be paid to its form, whereby both its preparation and safe storage are important.

The choice of form requires special attention. In addition to a handwritten last will and testament, it is also possible to draw up a typewritten will on a computer. However, this requires the confirmation of three witnesses, who must confirm their role as witnesses to the will in writing. Unfortunately, it is all too common for wills to be drawn up in an improper form and are subsequently invalid. The testator's handwritten wills in particular harbor this risk and often lead to (lengthy) disputes in court.

Retention also plays a decisive role, as wills are often impossible to find in the event of inheritance for various reasons. As only the original document has legal effect, a copy is usually worthless. Find out more about the careful wording and safe storage of your will in order to avoid legal conflicts.

You should consider making a will in the following cases:

  1. Family relationships: If you want to ensure that your legal heirs, such as children or parents, do not automatically inherit all your assets, you can stipulate this in your will.
  2. Separation: If you have been separated for some time but are not yet divorced.
  3. Cohabitation: If you live in a non-marital or partnered relationship and want to ensure that your partner is covered after your death.
  4. Patchwork families: The legal situation in patchwork families can be very complex. With a will, you can ensure that your stepchildren or other partners are adequately taken into account.
  5. Charitable purposes: If you wish to support charitable organizations or charitable purposes, you can make a will to ensure that part of your assets go to these purposes.

We will be happy to support you in drawing up your will. We will ensure that your will not only reflects your wishes, but also meets the strict legal requirements and formal requirements. This ensures that your assets go the way you want them to and minimizes the risk of disputes and legal problems after your death.