Contesting a will in Croatia: reasons, deadlines & legal matters

Inheritance law in Croatia regulates the transfer of assets after the death of a person,
either by law or by will. Anyone can designate an heir and regulate their rights in a will.
Here we explain why and how wills can be contested.

  1. reasons for contesting a will:
    Defects in the testator’s will: a will can be contested if the testator made it under duress,
    threat, deception or error. The application must be made within one year of becoming
    aware of the grounds for contesting the will, but no later than ten years after the will was
    Lack of prescribed form: A valid will must comply with the statutory forms handwritten,
    in writing before witnesses, publicly or orally in exceptional circumstances before two
    witnesses present at the same time. Contestation due to lack of form can be made
    within one year of becoming aware of it or at the latest ten years after the declaration of
    the will.
    Dispositions that conflict with the compulsory portion: Heirs to a compulsory portion
    descendants, adopted children, spouse can contest testamentary dispositions that
    violate their compulsory portion. The challenge must be made within 3 years of the
    declaration in the will.
  2. physical and psychological coercion:
    Case law distinguishes between physical use of force and psychological coercion
    pressure on the will. Both types can lead to the annulment of a will.
  3. Mandatory heirs and their rights:
    Compulsory heirs have the right to their compulsory portion, which is half for
    descendants, adopted children and spouses, and one third for other compulsory heirs.
    Dispositions that contradict these rights can be contested.