Selling Inherited Property in Portugal -Contact us for Advice!

Inheritance Law in Portugal

Updated on Friday 18th August 2023

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Inheritance-Law-in-Portugal.jpgMatters of succession and the distribution of assets after the passing of the owner are treated in the Inheritance Law in Portugal. The effects of the law should be understood in detail by all individuals who are concerned with how their assets will be distributed, especially in the absence of a will. Our lawyers in Portugal can explain the process of selling inherited property in Portugal, especially for expats or businesspeople.
 Quick Facts  
 Intestacy rules Succession is governed by law if there is no valid will. 

 Forced heirship (yes/no)

 Yes, a reserved portion for children and spouse.

 Estate taxes

 No inheritance and gift tax apply, only stamp duty applies.

Executor  The executor's appointment is optional but can simplify the distribution process. 
 Legal age for inheritance

Inheritors must be at least 18 years old to receive property directly. 

 Community property

 Portugal follows a community property system for married couples.

 Legitimacy of foreign wills

 Foreign wills may be valid if meeting certain formal requirements.

 Probate process

Probate is generally required, but simplified procedures exist for small estates.  


 Specific legal grounds for disinheriting an heir must be provided in the will.

Possibility of inheritance by Non-resident relatives (yes/no)   Yes, but they may face administration fee.
Forced heirship percentage 

 Reserved at least 50% of the share.

 Estate administration time

The probate process can take several months to a few years to complete. 

 Parental consent for minors

 Parental consent is required for minors to inherit property.

 Succession rights of unmarried

 Unmarried partners have no automatic succession rights.

International estate   International assets can be governed by Portuguese law if residing in Portugal.


Inheritance principles in Portugal

The principles of the Inheritance Law in Portugal can be found in the Civil Code. In general, all succession and inheritance matters are governed by it. Exceptions may include those particular cases in which an individual is not a Portuguese national but he/she owns property in the country.
The first refers to the distribution of assets in the absence of a will while the second refers to the distribution of assets according to a will. In general, the following principles are used for inheritance in Portugal:
  • the legal heirs are a spouse and children where the spouse shall not receive less than a quarter of the estate;
  • children but no spouse: the estate is divided equally;
  • when the deceased is survived only by a spouse, he/she receives all of the estates;
  • when the deceased is not married and has no children, then the brothers and sisters are the heirs.

The will in Portugal 

The will is a common practice in Portugal and many individuals decide to draw up this document. This document can be especially useful when one individual wishes to grant all or part of the inheritance to another who will otherwise not be entitled to it. In other cases, the one who draws up the will may exclude a beneficiary from his/her lawful inheritance percentage.
There is no Portuguese inheritance tax. However, the stamp duty is payable for transfers of assets outside Portugal, not exceeding 10% rate. One of our attorneys in Portugal can give you more details on Portuguese inheritance tax.

What is forced heirship in Portugal?

A minimum of 50% of the personal assets of a deceased is offered under the forced heirship to the legitimate spouse, the biological and/or adopted descendants. Special cases in which there are more than just one legitimate successor, the percent changes into 60. The mention is that it can be attacked in the court of law if the will of the deceased mentions a particular beneficiary.
According to the Inheritance Law in Portugal, the rest of the assets can be distributed as wanted. The same set of laws mentions that if there are no successors to inherit the assets and if there no testament left behind, the Portuguese state is entitled to receive such assets. To be qualified as part of the estate, all the properties in Portugal need to be registered with Portal do Cidadao. In terms of taxation, it is important to know that the Portugal estate tax has been abolished in 2004. Yet, there are particular succession fees that might apply in certain cases. Feel free to get in touch with our Portuguese attorneys and find out more details about selling inherited property in Portugal.

How is a will made in Portugal?

A testament in Portugal can be made without hiring an executor as it is made in other European countries. A will comprises the information that the closest relatives will manage the estate in this case. The closed wills, for example, can be written and created in private and then notarized to a public notary. As for public testaments in Portugal, these are signed in front of a public notary who needs to explain the entire procedure, and also in front of two witnesses. It is important to check the fees involved when drafting a public will. You can solicit legal advice from our lawyers in Portugal.

Do I need an attorney for my will in Portugal?

It is recommended to consider the legal advice of a Portuguese lawyer if you are a foreigner and you need to make a will. All countries have specific rules regarding testaments, but the majority respects international laws. If you are a successor from abroad and you have relatives in Portugal who left a testament, consider the legal advice of a lawyer in Portugal. As for a notary, this is needed when the transaction of assets is made to successors in Portugal. This is also a case where you should consider legal recommendations.

Do I need to consider the forced heirship in Portugal?

If you are a foreign citizen in Portugal, you should know that foreign legislation is applicable in your case. This means that forced heirship rules in Portugal cannot be imposed, and you can make your testament as you wish. The case might seem complex and might prolong or successor of non-residents in Portugal. Therefore, it is recommended to benefit from the legal services provided by a law firm in Portugal, with expertise in Portuguese inheritance tax.

Asking for a power of attorney

If you are a person wanting to make a will or if you are a successor looking to inherit the assets, you should know that you can appoint our lawyers with a power of attorney. The deeds of acceptance of the legacy can enter our attention if you let us work on your behalf with a power of attorney in Portugal.
A power of attorney can be created and used for a specific period of time until all the inheritance matters have been solved. Let our team of advisors provide you with information about selling inherited property in Portugal.

Selling an inherited property in Portugal

If you are a foreign citizen who inherited a specific asset in Portugal, you have the right to sell that property under certain conditions:
  1. The deed of acceptance of the inheritance needs to be signed before any transaction.
  2. Do not forget to verify if there are any inheritance taxes involved.
  3. Your tax identification number issued in Portugal is needed when selling a property.
  4. You cannot sell a property if it is not registered in the first place with the Land Registry in Portugal.
  5. If you paid all the taxes for your inherited property, then you can legally sell it.
If you, for any reason, decide on keeping the inherited properties, you should consider making a will in Portugal and discover all the legal aspects. The Inheritance Law in Portugal might seem complex especially if you are a foreign citizen. We recommend you to talk to a specialized lawyer in inheritance in Portugal.

Can assets be rejected?

Successors benefit from protection against debts of inherited properties. As there is no Portuguese estate tax, inherited assets are not refused. If there are cases in which family members have been disinherited, then the court will resolve the dispute. You can discuss more about selling inherited property in Portugal with our lawyers.

Valuation of assets in Portugal

Selling inherited property in Portugal is not difficult. First, you need to evaluate the goods to know how much you can sell. A lawyer who works with experts in the field can help you here. They know the market and the requirements, so it will be easy to evaluate the properties before selling them. And since there is no Portuguese estate tax, the sale-purchase process will be simple. Talk to our lawyers in Portugal about selling an inherited property in Portugal.

FAQ about inheritance in Portugal

We often get questions about selling an inherited property in Portugal. That's why we have prepared a set of questions to clarify before collaborating with our Portuguese lawyers.
1. Is the selling process of an inherited property hard?
No, as long as you respect the applicable legislation. You can be helped by a Portuguese lawyer who can manage the formalities.
2. Who inherits family property after death?
The spouse and children are the first in line to inherit the property mentioned in the will. Parents and grandparents follow if the first members of the family do not exist.
3. Do I have to make a will in Portugal?
Selling inherited property in Portugal can be done without the use of a will. However, it is good to consider the need for a will. Our Portuguese lawyers can guide you.
4. Is there any Portuguese estate tax?
No, the Portuguese estate tax was abolished in 2004. But you have to consider the stamp duty that applies.
5. Can foreign inheritance tax apply to properties in Portugal?
Yes, taxation can be made according to the functional inheritance laws in the country of origin. Please note that there is no Portuguese inheritance tax.
6. Can I receive the pension of a deceased relative?
Yes, according to Portuguese law, the spouse or children are entitled to a survivor's pension. The payment is up to 60% of the respective pension and the line of the family's descendants is taken into account if the first category does not exist.
7. Can a lawyer help me with selling an inherited property in Portugal?
Yes, with the help of power of attorney, you can sell properties in Portugal. Our lawyers have experience in the field and can help you.
8. What is stamp duty in Portugal?
Stamp duty in Portugal is 10% and applies to Portuguese assets held in other countries.
9. Who pays stamp duty for Portuguese goods held in other countries?
Those who inherit property from deceased persons but who are not family members must pay stamp duty in Portugal. Family members are exempt from this tax.
10. Are other taxes levied on goods inherited in Portugal?
Administration fees may be levied on foreigners who inherit properties in Portugal. Most refer to those for translating various documents.
Here are some facts about real estate in Portugal that may interest you:
  • The cost per square meter for a house in Portugal is approximately EUR 1,187.
  • The price for housing in central Lisbon starts at around EUR 1,456 per square meter.
  • Property prices in Portugal have risen by about 6% in 2020.
We invite you to contact our law firm in Portugal if you have any questions related to selling inherited property in Portugal or if you are in search of professional legal services.