Succession and division of an agricultural holding
In the case of inheritance of agricultural holdings, the general rules on inheritance contained in Articles 931 to 940 of the Civil Code are generally applicable. However, following the judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal of 31 January 2001 (Act No 4/99), on the basis of which it was established that certain provisions contained in Title X are unconstitutional, the inheritance of the agricultural holding will result from the date of opening of the estate (i.e. from the date of death of the deceased). The judgment entered into force on 14 February 2001. In the case of successions opened before that date, the succession shall have been effected in accordance with the changes contained in Title X, as referred to below.
The heirs shall, in the case of inheritances opened before 14 February 2001, inherit the agricultural holding by law if one of the following conditions is met:
- continuously work directly on agricultural production,
- have a professional background in agricultural production,
- are minors or are apprenticed or in school,
- are permanently unable to work.
It follows from the foregoing that the succession of an agricultural holding (in the case of inheritances opened before 14 February 2001) is governed by separate rules. In order to inherit an agricultural holding, it is necessary, in addition to being related to the heir, to satisfy at least one of the four abovementioned conditions.
It should be borne in mind that where the spouse of the deceased or any of his relatives appointed to inherit from the law does not satisfy the conditions governing the succession to an agricultural holding or where only persons who, at the time the estate is opened, are permanently unable to work are entitled to inherit the estate, the estate shall inherit the inheritance under the general rules.
When an agricultural holding is part of a succession, we shall apply the rules on the division of agricultural holdings accordingly with the abolition of joint ownership. Article 213 of the Civil Code, which contains specific rules on the division of an agricultural holding, will apply to the division of an agricultural holding. Article 213(1) of the CC, on the other hand, restricts the permissibility of physical division of agricultural holdings in so far as it would be contrary to the principles of sound agricultural management. That legislation provides for an additional circumstance which excludes the elimination of joint ownership by physical division. Nevertheless, the permissibility of the division of an agricultural holding must always be assessed in terms of legality. Significantly, the above provision applies only to farms whose agricultural real estate area or total agricultural real estate area is not less than 1 ha.
After 14 February 2001, the succession of holdings shall take place on a general basis, without the application of the provisions arising from Title X. The heirs shall no longer have to comply with the requirements previously set out for the succession of agricultural holdings.