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Belgium does not have a legal process comparable to probate for administering and distributing the property of a deceased person.

Upon death, property passes automatically to your heirs. Your heirs are then responsible for the administration of the estate. In Belgium we do not have executors who act as personal representatives of your estate. This does not mean that you cannot appoint an executor in your Will to be your representative who must make sure that your last wishes are respected; an executor does not administer or take possession of your estate.

If there is a Will, the heirs are required to comply with it. A Will signed before a notary automatically has full effect.  A handwritten Will and an international Will do not have the same effect.  Upon death the handwritten Will must be lodged with a notary, who will open it and record the receipt and the state of the Will.  The notary takes the same steps in relation to an international Will. He will lodge a copy of the handwritten or international Will with the court of first instance.

For bank accounts, the heirs must provide a certificate of succession. For real property, the transfer is recorded in the land registry (the cadastre / kadaster) by the tax authorities when they process the inheritance tax return.  If you make a bequest to a friend, he must contact your heirs to receive it. It is only if there is a dispute between or with the heirs that cannot be solved amicably that matters are taken to court.