Portuguese Inheritance Law

The laws regarding inheritance in Portugal are covered in the Portuguese Civil Code, 5th Book. Portuguese inheritance laws include laws regarding inheritance tax and succession law. If a non-resident dies while living in Portugal, the laws of the home country of the deceased generally apply.


A portion of the inheritance is reserved for legitimate heirs of the deceased. Legitimate heirs include spouses, children, adopted children and descendants. The general rule is that a minimum of 50 per cent of the estate is reserved for legitimate heirs, but this can be exceeded depending on the situation. The portion of the estate which is reserved for legitimate heirs is respected and adhered to regardless of the terms of the will of the deceased.


If spouses are of different nationalities, the laws of the country where they both usually live apply. If the spouses do not have a country where they usually live for whatever reason, Portuguese law applies the law of the country in which they have the closest family connections.

Inheritance Tax

Laws regarding inheritance tax in Portugal date to 1899. Any inheritance tax payable is owed by the person inheriting the estate. If you have a bank account and no other assets in Portugal, you are not subject to inheritance tax. If you have additional assets such as a property, Portuguese inheritance tax laws apply.

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Adelaide Damoah has been writing since 1995. Her work appears on eHow and she has experience with academic writing, web content, newsletters and news releases. Her expertise includes health and art. Damoah holds a Bachelor of Science in applied biology from Kingston University.

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