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Estate and Probate


Estate and Probate

Making a will: The safest and fairest way to inherit your assets


o make a will in advance and in full use of your faculties to determine who will inherit your assets is a responsible action that will ensure a fair treatment for your loved ones and friends, or the institutions supported by you in life.

The Inheritance Law in Costa Rica provides you legal tools to distribute your assets equitably or as you dispose: Money, properties, jewelry, vehicles, objects, business, paintings, etc.

How to make a will?

There are two types: open will and closed will

Open will

  • The person (also known as the testator) prepares the will before a notary public and three witnesses
  • It is written on a public deed
  • The will indicates how to distribute total or specific goods
  • It includes the name of the will executor, the person who will manage the assets until they are given to the heirs
  • The original document will be send to the Archivo Nacional (National Archives)

Closed will

  • It is more personalized: It is handwritten and indicates the assets to be inherit and who are the heirs
  • The will is signed in the presence of a notary public and put in a sealed envelope
  • The envelope is closed by applying a wax seal to ensure that it will be opened only by a judge, because this kind of will stays with the person and is not stored at the National Archives

Read more about successions through an open or closed will in our article “Making certain by the use of a will, that your most valued assets end in the hands you intended”

What happens if I don’t leave a will?


hen a person dies without leaving a will, it is necessary, in most cases, to turn to a legal advice that provides you four elements: Experience, security, reliability and speed of action.

We talk about speed of action because, as your legal advisers, we must prevent that unscrupulous people may get benefit from the assets.

If there is no will the Costa Rican laws are clear about granting benefits to the direct relatives of the testator, or first succession degree: Spouse, children and parents. To do that, a board of heirs will be created, presided by a judge that will help them distribute the assets as the law requires, to make decisions and protect the interests of them all.

How are the assets distributed when there is no will?


he spouse of the testator receives 50% of the assets only if the assets accumulated by both parties during their marriage (marital assets) correspond to the other 50%.

From the distribution of the 50% of the assets, the other half will be received equally by the children or parents of the testator.

What happens when the person dies without a will and without direct relatives?


he chain of succession, according to the Costa Rican Law, continues with the brothers or sisters, nephews or nieces of the testator, or the State, specifically the Education Board of the places where the testator accumulated its assets.

Successions of foreign citizens in Costa Rica


s a lawyer with over 25 years of experience I have deal with many cases where a foreign citizen dies leaving properties or assets in Costa Rica.

For the successions of foreigners’ assets it is vital to verify that the person made a will in its country of origin and whether it complies with the laws of Costa Rica, in terms of validity. This applies, for example, if the foreigner has family in Costa Rica that can rightfully inherit the assets.

If in the country of origin of the foreigner a sentence related to a will that includes assets located in Costa Rica is dictated, then the Corte Suprema de Justicia (Supreme Court of Justice) is responsible for validating the sentence issued abroad.

At Arturo Blanco Law we present you our specialized service in estate and probate. We are in full capacity to perform the probates as well as a non-testamentary proceeding, also if you are in the process of preparing your estate planning, or creating a trust fund for your loved ones.

Please do not hesitate to ask us about our services in Inheritance Law.

Make your Will today and save problems to your loved ones tomorrow

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