Inheritance in Malta

Inheritance in Malta

Updated on Monday 06th May 2019

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Inheritance-in-Malta.jpgInheritance is the procedure through which a person receives several assets that belonged to a deceased person, who has stipulated in a will who are his or her successors and what each person/s is/are entitled to inherit. 

Although the procedure comes into effect at a sensible moment in life, several legal aspects have to be undertaken and we recommend you to get legal advice from a law firm in Malta. With a deep knowledge in various civil matters, our law firm can help local and foreign citizens in inheritance matters.

Inheritance regulations in Malta

The main law providing for inheritance in Malta is the Civil Code under which succession can be disposed based on a will or the lack of will.

There are several ways in which the disposal of assets and various goods can take place after a person’s death. These are:

  • - through a will, case in which several conditions must be met, among which the validity of the will is essential;
  • - through a secret will which is recorded with a court of law in Malta by the testator or one of the witnesses;
  • - trusts and foundations are also means through which succession can be ensured by a person;
  • - without a will, case in which intestate succession will be completed in accordance with the law.


No matter the case in which an inheritance is left to successors, you can rely on our lawyers in Malta can guide on how to draft a will.

Types of wills in Malta

The most common way of disposing of one’s assets after death is by will. Both nationals and foreign citizens who have relocated to Malta can take advantage of the laws of this country and draw up testaments through which they can leave their belongings to successors.

The following types of testaments are acknowledged in Malta:

  • - ordinary or common wills which can be public or secret, as seen above;
  • - unica charta wills or joint testaments left by a husband and wife together;
  • - privileged wills which can be drafted under extraordinary circumstances;
  • - wills made at sea are also acknowledged by the Maltese legislation and are quite common in this country;
  • - will drafted outside Malta by Maltese citizens can be enforced here.


It is important to know that the person drafting the will must comply with a few criteria, among which:

  1. he or she must have full mental capacity at the moment the testament is drafted;
  2. the individual must have reached the legal age of 18, however, younger persons can also draft wills as long as they may give financial dispositions;
  3. the individual must have at least two witnesses at the moment the will is written;
  4. the testator can be a foreign person, as there is no limitation in this sense; the will be valid in Malta.


Our Maltese lawyers can advise and help local and foreign citizens who need help in preparing their wills. They can also grant a power of attorney when it comes to the enforcement of certain rights mentioned in a will.

Intestate succession in Malta

Intestate succession is possible under one or more of the following situations:

  • - a person has not left any testament;
  • - the will left by a person is not valid;
  • - if the testator has not made provisions about all his/her assets;
  • - if the heirs do not want to accept the inheritance;
  • - if one or more heirs are unable or lack the capacity of receiving an inheritance.


In the case of intestate inheritance, the division of property will follow specific regulations depending on the heirs.

Our lawyers in Malta can explain how the rules of intestate inheritance apply.

Inheritance procedure in Malta

After the opening of the will, the successors to the inheritance have to follow specific steps in order to legally receive the ownership of the assets stipulated in the document. If the deceased did not leave a will, the successors are the closest relatives. Our Maltese lawyers can offer you details on how the inheritance will be distributed, in the situation in which there is no written testament

The notary will hand in the testament in the moment when the death certificate is issued. In case of inheriting immovable properties, the successors must hire an architect to prepare an evaluation of the buildings

After the evaluation is done, the successor must pay a 5% transfer tax from the evaluation price of the building. If the successor is the life partner of the deceased, he or she must pay, at the transfer of ownership, a 5% tax on half of the evaluation price. 

Descendants in inheritance cases in Malta

Under the Civil Law, the heirs to an estate in Malta can be the children, the spouse and the other close or distant relatives of the deceased. Unless a will has been drafted, the estate must be divided among the survivor heirs as follows:

  1. in the case of maximum four children, each heir will receive one-third of the assets divided in equal shares;
  2. in the case of more than five children, each heir will receive a half of the estate divided in equal shares;
  3. the spouse (if still alive) will be entitled to one-fourth of the entire estate of the deceased;
  4. the remaining share of the estate will be divided among the other living heirs of the deceased.


In order to enter the possession of their right of estate, the heirs must first accept it. This is done with the public notary who has certified the will or the lawyer of the family.

Our attorneys in Malta can advise in matters related to the acceptance of an inheritance.

No will – inheritance procedure 

Not all citizens leave a will after their death. In this case, the Maltese law states that first in line as successors are the children. If the couple did not have children, the inheritance will be given to the surviving spouse. If there are children and a surviving spouse, the belongings of the deceased will be equally shared between the above mentioned. Our lawyers in Malta can provide you with information on how the inheritance may be distributed, according to the family structure of the deceased. 

Inheritance procedures opened from 17 August 2015 on, are solved under the Cross Border Succession Law, applicable to persons with more than two nationalities. When deciding to write a will, they can choose the succession law from any of the country whose nationality they possess.  

Inheritance tax in Malta

According to the Maltese laws, there are no inheritance taxes in this country. Considering an inheritance can also take the form of a donation, it is also useful to know that there is no gift tax in Malta either. The only ley imposed is the transfer duty which must be paid by the heir. The rate of this levy is 5% of the value of the inherited estate.

In case you need assistance in drafting a will, our Maltese law firm is at your disposal with full information on the legislation in this sense. We can also help foreign citizens who want to have their wills drafted in Malta.

If you need legal advice on inheritance procedures in Malta, our Maltese law firm can help you throughout the process. Please contact our attorneys in Malta, who can offer you consultations on this matter.