Wills and Estate Planning in Austria: Understanding the Basics 1

What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is the process of planning and organizing the distribution of your assets after your death. It involves ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your specific wishes and desires.

Estate planning is particularly important in Austria because inheritance laws require that all assets be distributed to immediate family members in a specific order, regardless of individual wishes. Without proper planning, certain assets may be distributed differently than intended by the deceased.

Wills in Austria

One of the most common ways to ensure that assets are distributed according to your wishes is through the creation of a will in Austria. Wills allow individuals to document their wishes concerning the distribution of assets after their death.

Wills, however, must adhere to certain guidelines in order to be considered valid in Austria. To be valid, the testator or creator of the will must be 18 years or older, mentally sound, and the will must be signed in front of two witnesses. The two witnesses must also sign the will and confirm that the testator was in their right mind.

Additionally, it is important to note that a will can be contested in Austria by immediate family members who were not allotted assets in the will. Because of this, it is important to seek legal counsel when creating a will and to ensure that all assets are properly distributed according to Austrian law.

Trusts in Austria

Another option for estate planning in Austria is the creation of a trust. A trust allows for assets to be transferred and held by a trustee who then manages them on behalf of the beneficiaries. Trusts can be established during an individual’s lifetime or through a will.

One benefit of utilizing a trust in Austria is that assets held in a trust are not subject to probate, which can be a lengthy and costly process. Additionally, trusts can be used to pass on assets to beneficiaries over time or after certain conditions have been met.

Inheritance Laws in Austria

It is important to note that, regardless of any will or trust, Austrian law holds precedence over estate planning decisions made by individuals. In Austria, inheritance laws dictate that immediate family members have the right to certain assets in a specific order if a will or other estate planning document does not otherwise dictate.

For example, if an individual in Austria is married and has children, their spouse is entitled to half of the estate and the children are entitled to the other half, divided equally among them. If an individual is unmarried and has no children, their parents are entitled to the estate. Only after these immediate family members are allotted their share of the estate can other designated beneficiaries receive assets.


Proper estate planning is critical for anyone owning assets in Austria. Wills, trusts, and other estate planning tools can help ensure that your assets are distributed according to your specific wishes. Consulting with a legal professional in Austria is recommended to ensure that your estate planning documents are valid and hold up according to Austrian law.

In summary, taking the time to create an estate plan can bring peace of mind and ensure that your loved ones receive the assets you want them to after you pass away. To discover more and complementary information about the subject discussed, we dedicate ourselves to offering a rewarding learning journey. Rechtsanwalt Scheidung Wels https://rieger-recht.at.

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