Leave a Legacy

Published: Jan 31, 2013 Reading time: 6 minutes
Leave a Legacy
© Foto: PIN Archive

Writing a last will and testament is an important life step. Doing so will secure your family and loved ones, and help avoid potential inheritance disputes.

Your will can help in so many different ways. With your generosity and selflessness, you can improve living conditions for many people around the world. Your support will do a lot of good – thanks to you, children will get an education and a home, modern hospitals and water wells will be built, and human rights will be supported wherever they are not. Even with a small gift, you can do great things.

If you choose our organization to help you leave such an important legacy, you can be sure that your gift will be appreciated and used for a good cause. We are an enthusiastic team working in a stable NGO, which has been helping in the Czech Republic and worldwide for over twenty years.

Writing such a will is not hard at all. In the article How to draft a will, you will find all the information you need. To make things even easier, here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Frequent Q&As

What can I bequeath? How do I do this?

You can leave all or a part of your property or assets for humanitarian purposes. It is possible to bequeath personal as well as real property (a house, a car, art works, intellectual property rights, insurance contract or money). Bequeathed donations are not subjected to tax (some exceptions may apply according to the laws of your country). For detailed information see the website How to draft a will. The legislation related to the last will is quite complex, therefore it is advised to consult a notary in order to make sure that your property will be handled according to your wishes.

What will happen to my donation?

We suggest that you discuss with us in advance and agree on how to make the best of your donation. We want to hear about your wishes and we will respect them. The easiest way is to contact us and arrange a personal meeting.

How much does a notary assistance cost?

You can ask any notary to draft a will for you. For this service (drafting and archiving the document in the Central evidence of wills) you will be asked to pay a fee of 1,800 CZK (excl. VAT), which does not depend on the value of your property. The notary can also simply archive a will that you can draft in a number of ways explained below. The fee for such a service is 1,100 CZK (excl. VAT).

Who inherits my property according to the law?

If the testator has not made a will, the Civil Code determines six so-called ‘inheritance groups’, each specified according to how close the family connection is to the testator. The first group is next of kin (children and spouse), with subsequent ones including distant relatives, such as grandparents, uncles or nieces. To put it simply, if you do not have a next of kin, your property will be inherited by more distant relatives.

Step-children and cousins do not belong to any of the inheritance groups, according to Czech law. They can only inherit as a so-called cohabiting person (a person living with the testator in a common household for at least a year before testator’s passing and therefore taking care of the household, or being a dependent of the testator, as stated in the new Civil Code). The cohabiting person belongs to the 2nd and 3rd inheritance group, therefore they can inherit only if the testator has no children.  

Does the law stipulate somebody who should not be omitted from my will?

Yes, the testator must not omit the so-called ‘heirs apparent’ in his/her will. If heirs apparent are omitted, the will is valid, however, they (i.e. the testator’s descendants) must still receive their legitimate share: Underage descendants shall receive at least ¾ and adult descendants at least a half of what their legitimate share is. The case when a testator legally disinherits his/her descendants is an exception to this rule (reasons for disinheritance are listed here).

Can I designate what my bequest will be used for?

Yes, it is possible to include a declaration in a will or a will contract, where the testator defines the way how his/her bequeathed property is to be used. If its formulation is in compliance with the law, understandable and not a demonstration of one’s arbitrary behaviour, the declaration is valid and claimable. For example, if an heir is given an instruction, its execution can be claimed by the person in whose favour the order is given, or a person determined in the document.

May I change a written will?

Yes, you can change or cancel your will at anytime. If you decide to write a will contract, changes need to be agreed on by both contractual parties.

Can I make a will together with my spouse?

A mutual will of more testators is not valid, according to Czech law. If, for example, a married couple wants to make a will, each partner has to do so separately.

What about the community property?

If a testator has a spouse, he/she should not forget, when writing a will, that the property of married couples is (usually) owned jointly by both spouses as community property. The implications for the inheritance rights in this case are such that, within the framework of inheritance proceedings, community property is divided first, with the testator’s spouse usually inheriting half of the testator’s property. Only then, the inheritance proceeding of the rest of the property, which is classified as testator’s separate property, takes place (though, at the same time, this part can also be inherited by the spouse).

What happens to my property in case I do not have an heir and I have not made the last will?

The property of those who die without heirs and without leaving a will pass to the state.

What if I do not wish to make a will or a will contract?

Make an agreement with your closest family members on how they should dispose of your property after your passing. If you feel your wish might not be respected, (once again) consider making a will.

If you are considering helping others by making a donation to People in Need in your will, we will accept your decision with utmost respect and gratitude.

We will be happy to provide you with all the information and support you require. All you have to do is contact Tomáš Vyhnálek, who is ready to discuss everything with you. 

Tomáš Vyhnálek
Telefon: +420 226 200 437
E-mail: tomas.vyhnalek@clovekvtisni.cz

Člověk v tísni, o.p.s.
Šafaříkova 24
120 00 Praha 2
IČO: 25755277

Autor: People in Need

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