Intestate Succession in the Dominican Republic: Distribution of Assets without a Will
When a person dies in the Dominican Republic without leaving a valid will, the intestate succession process is triggered to determine how his or her assets will be distributed among the legal heirs. In the absence of a will, it is crucial to understand how intestate succession laws work in this country.
First, it is important to note that intestate succession laws in the Dominican Republic are regulated by the Civil Code and other complementary laws. These laws establish the order of priority of the legal heirs and the manner in which the deceased’s assets will be distributed.
The surviving spouse has a central role in intestate succession in the Dominican Republic. If the deceased leaves a surviving spouse, he/she will be entitled to a preferential portion of the inheritance. The preferential portion is determined by law and may vary depending on the family situation and whether there are children of the marriage.
In the absence of a surviving spouse, the children of the deceased will be the primary legal heirs. In this case, the assets will be distributed among the children in an equitable manner. If any of the children are predeceased, their own children (grandchildren of the deceased) may claim their share on behalf of their parent.
If the deceased has no spouse, children or grandchildren, direct ascendants, such as parents or grandparents, who may become the legal heirs, will be sought.
In the event that there are no direct relatives, the intestate succession can be extended to other more distant relatives, such as siblings, aunts, uncles or cousins, in accordance with Dominican inheritance laws.
It is important to note that intestate succession can generate complications and conflicts among the heirs, especially when there are several claimants for the same portion of the inheritance. In addition, the intestate succession process can be longer and more costly compared to a succession with a valid will.
To avoid these inconveniences and to ensure a distribution more in accordance with the wishes of the deceased, estate planning and drafting a valid will in the Dominican Republic is highly recommended. This will allow the deceased to clearly express his or her wishes and ensure that his or her assets are distributed according to his or her preferences, avoiding unnecessary disputes and conflicts among the heirs.
Finally, although intestate succession in the Dominican Republic provides a mechanism for the distribution of assets in the absence of a valid will, estate planning and the drafting of a will are essential tools to ensure that your wishes are respected and your assets are bequeathed according to your preferences.
Do not leave the management of your succession to chance; at our firm, we provide you with the necessary advice to take control of your estate, ensuring a smooth transition and adequate protection for your loved ones.
Virgilio Santana Ripoll