“International Inheritance” – Canada and Ukraine

September 20, 2018 James Jacuta Beneficiary Designations, Estate & Trust, Estate Planning, Power of Attorney, Uncategorized Tags: , , 0 Comments

In 2016, there were an estimated 1,359,655 persons of Ukrainian origin residing in Canada, making them one of Canada’s largest ethnic groups. Because this is a community that is now overwhelmingly born in Canada only a small percentage have knowledge of the Ukrainian language. However, many have cultural, family, and other ties to the country of origin of their grandparents. There are many aspects of international inheritance and estates that involve assets and beneficiaries in both countries as a result of these historic ties.

Ukraine is a European continental law country, with a population of 44 million, in which notaries deal with estates or “successions”. The “Certificate of Right to Inheritance” is the Ukrainian equivalent of the “Letters of Administration” or “Letters Probate”  or a “Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee” which are used in Canada.

It should be noted that under Ukrainian legal procedures, the right to assets of a decedent is based upon the terms of a will, if any, or in accordance with the Ukrainian law on intestate succession.  For example, if a wife dies leaving a husband and two living sons but left no will, her estate would be transferred to her heirs, namely her sons and husband pursuant to the Civil Code of Ukraine, in equal shares. In the case where one of the sons subsequently dies leaving three children, then the son’s share would be transferred to his beneficiaries, namely his wife and three children.

Also interesting, according to the Civil Code of Ukraine, a beneficiary (testamentary or legal heir) has the right to renounce their share in the Deceased’s estate in favor of another beneficiary. So, in order to minimize legal formalities and respectively notarial costs and expenses, beneficiaries can renounce their shares in an estate in favor of another beneficiary by completing a document in front of a notary.

If you are interested in further information on the topic of international inheritance we are pleased to assist, along with our lawyer colleagues in Ukraine.

Thanks for reading,
James Jacuta

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