Gender and Land Rights Database


Inheritance legal mechanisms

Civil Code, Regio Decreto No. 262/1942 of 1942, amended in 1975 by Law No. 151/75:
- Article 536 states that the spouse is among the intestate heirs, along with the children and other legitimate heirs. No distinction is made among natural and legitimate children.

- The spouse is entitled to one-half of the estate, when there is only one child, to one-third if there are more children, as stated in Article 581.

- When there are no children but siblings, the surviving spouse is entitled to two-thirds of the estate, as per Article 582.

- When the surviving spouse is the only heir, he/she is entitled to the whole estate, as set in Article 583.

- No discrimination is made among female and male children and among natural and legitimate children, according to Articles 566 and 570.
- In case of testamentary succession, the widow/er and the children are necessary heirs; that is, they cannot be disinherited, as stated in Article 536.

- The surviving spouse is entitled to half the property of the deceased spouse in the absence of children, and to a smaller share, one-third to two-thirds, if there are children, as stated in Articles 540 and 542 (17).


- According to Law No. 203 of 1982 on agrarian contracts, the deceased tenant’s heirs who contributed to the cultivation of the rented plot and continue to cultivate it, have the right to succeed into the rental contract after the death of the tenant, as provided for by Article 49. The law clearly states that agrarian contracts do not expire upon the death of the tenant.
The contract may be resolved at the end of the crop season, only if the legitimate heir exercises farming as an independent farmer or as manager of an agricultural undertaking as his/her primary activity and source of income (18).

Sources: numbers in brackets (*) refer to sources displayed in the Bibliography