‎Estate, Inheritance and Probate in Brazil

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Despite being an extremely important process for heritage and family life, it is very common that people do not know what the inventory is and how it works. This is a delicate issue, since the demand arises when facing the death of a loved one. Our Brazilian Probate Attorneys can help with that.

It is not easy to resolve bureaucratic issues when grieving. But understanding the basic details of this topic helps to tackle backlogs and avoid future problems.

Then follow the main questions and answers on the topic and our Brazilian Probate Lawyers can answer your questions!

1. What is an inventory?

The inventory is the procedure for identifying and sharing the assets left by a person who has died. He has the objective of organizing the family's patrimony in such a way that his division takes place in a fair way, according to the rights of each member.

It is the inventory that regulates the sharing and guarantees the transfer of ownership of the goods. Thus, it is indispensable to formalize the right of the heirs.

The laws that guide this whole process are related to the Succession Law branch and the mediation of a lawyer is mandatory, our Brazilian Inheritance Lawyers can help.

2. How does the inventory process work?

There are two main ways to take inventory: extrajudicial and judicial. The first is simpler and happens when there is no will and all the heirs are in agreement on the sharing of assets (in addition, they must be of legal age and considered legally capable).

Considering these specificities, the judicial modality ends up being the most common way of carrying out the inventory procedure. In that case, it goes through trial and takes a little longer.

The inventory must be opened in the municipality where the person was domiciled. It is important to note that regardless of the type chosen, a lawyer is always necessary to open the case. Check out more details about each type. Our Brazilian Inheritance Attorneys are here to help.


The judicial process can be lengthy, especially when there are disagreements and conflicts between the heirs. But, if everyone agrees, it is possible to request the inventory by listing - in this type, the family members present the sharing proposal accepted by all for the judge's approval.

Among the documents required to open a judicial inventory are the death certificate of the original owner of the assets, the will (or a certificate proving its absence), deeds of real estate, proof of ownership of the assets, negative certificates of tax debts and documents personal details of each heir.


The extrajudicial inventory is resolved directly at the registry office, by public deed. It is a faster process, lasting only a few months.

To do this, the family can hirer our Probate lawyers in Brazil and organize the documents, adding an outline of the identification and sharing of assets as agreed between all.

As the inventory is a mandatory procedure in Brazil, the process done in a notary's office also serves for cases in which the deceased person does not leave assets. In these situations, a negative inventory is opened, in order to prove the absence of equity. Our Probate Attorneys in Brazil uses to help with this.

3. Who can enter the inventory?

The judicial inventory can be opened at the initiative of the heirs, creditors or anyone who shows interest in the process. In some cases, the Public Prosecutor's Office, the Treasury or a judge may request the opening of this procedure.

In every inventory, a person is named as an inventor and is directly responsible for the process. This role can be exercised by the spouse or partner and other heirs. The person who takes care of the will or a judicial inventor may also be appointed.

4. What are the fees for taking inventory?

One of the main costs of the inventory concerns taxes. The causa mortis transfer tax has a maximum rate of 8% on equity, but the percentage depends on each Brazilian state.

The other fees refer to the procedural costs. When the process is carried out in an extrajudicial manner, the expenses are lower, as they refer only to the notary's costs.

When there is a lawsuit, the procedure is more expensive. An applicant who proves that he cannot afford the fees can apply for an exemption, our Brazilian Estate Lawyers use to have success with this request.

There is a possibility that different charges will arise during the process. This is the case when it is necessary to pay fees in real estate registry offices.

Thus, the costs of the inventory can vary widely depending on the state where it is carried out and the goods to be shared.

5. What are the process deadlines?

Regarding the deadlines, it is important to highlight that the inventory must be opened within 60 days from the date of death. When this period is exceeded, the family is exposed to paying a fine for the delay in filing the lawsuit.

The inventories that take place by public deed, that is, in an extrajudicial way, are completed in three or six months. Meanwhile, those involved in court proceedings take longer – generally

three and three years. But the term may be even longer if there are many differences between the heirs.

6. Is it possible to sell goods during the inventory?

The inheritance of an inheritance is considered indivisible before the completion of the inventory. However, the goods can be sold with the judge's authorization - only in cases where the process is judicial.

The magistrate authorizes the sale when it is requested by the inventor and has the agreement of all the heirs. Once the sale is made, payment must be made in a judicial deposit to ensure that it is part of the asset sharing. The amount can also be used to settle debts.

7. What happens in case of debts?

Many family members worry about losing a loved one who was in debt. When this happens, the equity needs to be used to pay creditors. There are two situations: when the debt is less than the volume of goods and when it is greater than it. Our Brazilian Estate Attorneys can help with this part.

In smaller debts, part of the inheritance is used to settle the debts and the rest is divided among the heirs. If the debt is higher, family members can choose to waive the inheritance, which will then be disputed by creditors.

However, it is not mandatory for the family to relinquish the inventory. Another option in case of larger debts is to do the process normally and pay the creditors according to the limit of the existing assets.

The rest of the debt is not inherited. In other words, family members do not need to be responsible for paying off values ??that exceed the assets left by the person.

These are the main questions and answers about the inventory. Clarifying these doubts is essential to be aware of the subject and to be able to guide the process in the best possible way.


Mr. Alessandro Jacob speaking about Brazilian Law on "International Bar Association" conference

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