The order of the heirs is a classification established by the State to determine a hierarchy between the heirs and thus be able to share the deceased's patrimony. It is useful when the latter has not written a will nor made a donation during his lifetime. This ranking is also necessary to assess the death duties payable.
The order of the heirs
Why classify heirs?
It is essential to classify heirs in a hierarchical order when the deceased left no will and made no donation during his lifetime. In classifying the heirs, the notary determines exactly what are the beneficiaries of the sharing succession and what is their order of priority. Beforehand, he must search for heirs to find out their exact identity.
The different orders and degrees of the heirs
|1st order||2nd order||3rd order||4th order|
|great grandparents||uncles and aunts|
|4th degree||-||-||-||cousins siblings|
The first order includes the direct descendants of the deceased. The second order corresponds to theprivileged scendants (father and mother) and privileged collaterals (brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces). The third order includes what is called ordinary ascendants and the fourth ordinary collaterals. The fifth order that does not appear in the table corresponds to the state when there are no heirs.
The existence of one or more heirs in an order automatically excludes the heirs of the following order who can not claim any part of the inheritance.
Finally, you should know that inheritance taxes and tax deductions are set according to the degree of kinship between the deceased and the heir.
Good to know
Even if it does not appear in the table, the surviving spouse occupies a special place and is part of the first or second order. However, its share varies according to the heirs in presence. If there is no descendant or ascendant, he inherits all the succession. Also be aware that the law makes no difference between legitimate, adopted or natural children. They are necessarily priority in the succession. In the case where the deceased has children and grandchildren, only the children inherit unless there is representation of a deceased parent.