The Civil Code of the Russian Federation(with the Additions and Amendments of February 20, August 12, 1996,
October 24, 1997, July 8, December 17, 1999, April 16, May 15,
November 26, 2001, March 21, November 14, 26, 2002,
January 10, March 26, November 11, December 23, 2003)
Chapter 63. Succession by Operation of Law
Article 1141. General Provisions
1. Legal heirs shall be called upon to inherit in compliance with the priority ranking set out in Articles 1142 - 1145 and 1148 of the present Code. The heirs of each next category shall inherit if there are no heirs of the preceding categories, i.e. if there are no heirs of the preceding categories
or if neither of them are entitled to inherit or if all of them have been barred from inheritance (Article 1117), or deprived of inheritance (Item 1 Article 1119), if neither of them have accepted inheritance or if all of them have disclaimed inheritance.
2. Heirs of one category shall inherit in equal shares, except for the heirs who inherit by right of representation (Article 1146).
Article 1142. First Category Heirs
1. Legal heirs of the first category are the children, spouse and parents of the testator.
2. The testator's grandchildren and their issue shall inherit by right of representation.
Article 1143. Second Category Heirs
1. If there are no heirs of the first category the legal heirs of the second category shall be the full and half brothers and sisters of the testator, his grandfather and grandmother both on the side of the father and on the side of the mother.
2. The children of full and half brothers and sisters of the testator (nephews, nieces of the testator) shall inherit by right of representation.
Article 1144. Third Category Heirs
1. If there are no heirs of the first and second categories the legal heirs of the third category shall be the full and half brothers and sisters of the of the parents of the testator (uncles and aunts of the testator).
2. Cousins of the testator shall inherit by right of representation.
Article 1145. Next Category Heirs
1. If there are no heirs of the first, second and third categories (Articles 1142 - 1144), the right to inherit by law shall be acquired by the testator's relatives of the third, fourth and fifth degree of kinship who do not qualify as heirs of the preceding categories. The degree of kinship shall be determined by the number of births that separate relatives from each other. The birth of the testator in this case does not count.
2. Under Item 1 of the present article the following shall be called upon to inherit: as heirs of the fourth category: relatives of the third degree of kinship - great grandfathers and great grandmothers of the testator;
as heirs of the fifth category: relatives of the fourth degree of kinship - children of full nephews and nieces of the testator (grandsons and granddaughters once removed) and brothers and full sisters of their grandfathers and grandmothers (grandsons and granddaughters once removed) and full brothers and sisters
of their grandfathers and grandmothers once removed);
as the heirs of the sixth category: relatives of the fifth degree of kinship - children of grandsons and granddaughters of the testator once removed (grand grandsons and grand granddaughters once removed), children of his cousins (nephews and nieces once removed) and children of his grandfathers and grandmothers once removed (uncles and aunts once removed).
3. If there are no heirs of the preceding categories the following shall be called upon to inherit as heirs of the seventh category by law: stepsons, stepdaughters, the stepfather and the stepmother of the testator.
Article 1146. Succession by Right of Representation
1. The share of a legal heir who has died before the opening of the inheritance or simultaneously with the testator shall be passed by right of representation to his relevant issue in the cases specified in Item 2 of Article 1142, Item 2 of Article 1143 and Item 2 of Article 1144 of the present Code and it shall be divided between them in equal shares.
2. The issue of a legal heir who has been deprived of inheritance by the testator (Item 1 of Article 1119) shall not inherit by right of representation.
3. The issue of an heir who has died before the opening of the inheritance or simultaneously with the testator and who would not have had a right of inheritance under Item 1 of Article 1117 of the present Code shall not inherit by the right of representation.
Article 1147. Succession by Adopted Children and Adopters
1. In the case of succession by operation of law an adopted child and his/her issue on one side and the adopter and his/her relatives on the other side shall qualify as relatives by origin (blood relatives).
2. The adopted child and his/her issue shall not inherit by operation of law after the death of the parents of the adopted child and other blood relatives thereof and the parents of the adopted child and other blood relatives thereof shall not inherit by operation of law after the death of the adopted child and his/her issue, except for the cases specified in Item 3 of the present article.
3. In cases when under the Family Code of the Russian Federation an adopted child retains under a court decision relations with one of his/her parents or other blood relatives the adopted child and his/her issue shall inherit by operation of law after the death of these relatives and the latter shall inherit by operation of law after the death of the adopted child and his/her posterity. Inheritance under the present item shall not exclude inheritance under Item 1 of the present article.
Article 1148. Succession by Disabled Dependants of the Testator
1. Citizens qualifying as the legal heirs specified in Articles 1143 - 1145 of the present Code who are disabled as of the date of opening of the inheritance but not included in the category of heirs are called upon to inherit shall inherit by operation of law together and in equal shares with the heirs of that category if they had been dependants of the testator for at least a one-year term preceding the death of the testator, regardless of whether they resided together with the testator or not.
2. Legal heirs shall be deemed citizens not included in the circle of heirs specified in Articles 1142 - 1145 of the Code but who were disabled when the inheritance was opened who had been dependants of the testator at least for the one-year term preceding the death of the testator and resided together with him/her. If other legal heirs exist they shall inherit together pari passu with the heirs of the category called upon to inherit.
3. If there are no other legal heirs the disabled dependants of the testator shall inherit by themselves as eighth category heirs.
Article 1149. The Right to a Compulsory Share of Estate
1. The minor or disabled children of the testator, his disabled spouse and parents and also the disabled dependants of the testator who are subject to be called upon to inherit under Items 1 and 2 of Article 1148 of the present Code shall inherit irrespective of the content of the will at least half of the share each of them is entitled to in the case of succession by operation of law (compulsory share).
2. The right to a compulsory share in an estate shall be satisfied out of the residual part of the estate even if it is going to diminish the rights of other legal heirs to that portion of estate and if the nonbequeathed part of assets is insufficient to satisfy the right to compulsory share, out of the portion of assets that has been bequeathed.
3. Everything that an heir entitled to a compulsory share takes out of the estate on any ground shall count as part of the compulsory share, in particular, the value of a testamentary trust established for the benefit of such an heir.
4. If the exercise of a right to a compulsory share of an estate is going to cause the impossibility of passing to an heir property which was not used during the testator's lifetime by an heir entitled to a compulsory share and which had been used by an heir by will as his residential facility (a residential house, apartment, other living quarters, dacha etc.) or used as the main source of means of subsistence (means of labour, a creative studio etc.) the court may cut the size of the compulsory share or refuse to award such a share with due regard to the property status of the heirs entitled to a compulsory share.
Article 1150. The Rights of a Spouse to Inheritance
The right of inheritance that the surviving spouse of the testator has by will or by operation of law shall not diminish the spouse's right to the portion of property gained during the period of marriage with the testator and deemed their common property. The share of the deceased spouse in this property determined in compliance with Article 256 of the present Code shall be deemed a part of the estate and it shall pass to the heirs in compliance with the rules established by the present Code.
Article 1151. Escheat
1. If there are no legal heirs and heirs by will or if neither of the heirs has a right to inherit or all heirs have been deprived of their right of inheritance (Article 1117) or neither of the heirs have accepted the inheritance or all the heirs refused their inheritance and neither of them has indicated that the inheritance is waived for the benefit of another heir (Article 1158) the decedent's estate shall be deemed escheat.
2. Escheat property shall pass into the ownership of the Russian Federation by succession by operation of law.
3. The procedure for succession and recording of escheat property and also the procedure for transferring such property into the ownership of Russian regions or municipal entities shall be set out by a law.
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