Inheritance: division between heirs

Verified 11 January 2023 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

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Sharing of assets

One of your relatives has just passed away and there are several heirs. Wondering who now owns his property? Before the division of the estate, the property of the deceased is in division, i.e. they belong to all heirs. Operation, right of heirs, end of division: here are the rules to know on the subject.

If one of your relatives dies and there are several heirs, the estate's assets are in division. This means that they belong to all the heirs.

Division exists only if the heirs have rights of the same kind to the same property. This is the case, for example, when two children have bare-ownership of a house.

The share of each heir, also called indivisary, is identified as share.

The property is divided up to the division of the estate.

Legal regime

In general, you and other heirs make decisions about undivided property either tounanimity, or a majority of 2/3. In rarer cases, a indivisary can make the decision alone. The rules differ depending on the type of decision to be made.

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Conservation of undivided property

You or another indivisor may take a single measure necessary for the preservation of the property.

Example :

Perform work on real estate.

Day-to-day management act

The decision must be taken by a majority of two thirds of the undivided rights, i.e. rights held by each indivisor in an undivided property.

The decision must be communicated to the other indivisaries. Otherwise, it is not theirs enforceable.

Example :

Conclusion or renewal of a residential lease.

Sale of undivided movable property to pay the debts and expenses of the division

The decision must be taken by a majority of two thirds of the undivided rights, i.e. rights held by each indivisor in an undivided property.

The decision must be communicated to the other indivisaries. Otherwise it is not theirs enforceable.

Most important acts concerning undivided property (sale, donation of real estate)

The decision must be taken unanimously.

However, unanimity is not required when the indivisor is unable to express his will.

This is also the case when the indivisarian jeopardizes the common interest (recourse to the court by the other indivisaries).

Neither is unanimity required in the case of the sale of property undivided by the court on application by indivisaries having at least 2/3 of the rights.

Who shall I contact

In case of disagreement, you or any other heir can apply to the court for the appointment of a judicial representative. The Trustee will be responsible for the interim management of the succession.

Who shall I contact

The majority of 2/3 of the undivided rights and the majority of 2/3 of the heirs are sometimes different.

Example :

If there are 4 equally divided, the agreement of 3 of them is required.

However, if one of the four owns half the rights, the other three share the other half equally (16.66% each). In this case, the person who holds 50% of the rights must convince only one of the other three indivisaries.


You and the other heirs may decide to establish an agreement to fix the rules of operation of the division.

The agreement shall comply with the following conditions:

  • Be in writing
  • List the assets of the division
  • Specify the rights of each heir (also called indivisary)


if the estate involves immovable property, the agreement must be drawn up by a notary.

Who shall I contact

The agreement may have a fixed term, up to a maximum of five years, which may be renewed. It may also be fixed for an indefinite period.

To manage the division, you and other heirs can name one of you or someone else. This person is called the representative. There may be several agents. You can include it in the convention. You can also make the decision later.

Each year, the trustee must report to you on his management.

He can be paid. If this is the case, his remuneration is at your expense.

The agent may not transfer ownership of property to the beneficiary of his choice. For example, he is prohibited from selling real estate.


All heirs must agree to appoint an agent.

Use of undivided assets 

To use the undivided property, you must meet the following 3 conditions:

  • Have the agreement of the other indivisaries. If not, you must contact the President of the Judicial Tribunal.
  • Respect the destination of the good, that is to say what the good is made for. For example, an indivisor cannot turn a house built for residential use into a commercial space.
  • If you use an undivided property alone, pay compensation to the other undivided parties, unless the latter decide otherwise.
Who shall I contact

Assignment of rights in the division

You or another indivisor may sell your rights in the indivisor under certain conditions.

If the buyer is a third party to the division, you must, beforehand, notify by an act of the Commissioner of Justice (formerly bailiff and judicial auctioneer) your intention to assign your rights to the other members of the division. You must also notify the price, the terms of the proposed transfer and the name, domicile and occupation of the person proposing to purchase.

The other indivisaries remain a priority to purchase the share you are giving up. Indeed, any indivisor may, within the period of1 month after the notification, let you know that they are taking back your share at the prices and conditions notified to them.

Retention in undivided

If the indivists do not agree, the court can uphold the division to protect their interests.

Judicial retention in undivided status may include the following situations:

  • Company operated by the deceased or by his or her spouse
  • Dwelling or business premises used by the deceased or his or her spouse at the time of death

In the presence of a minor heir, the application for retention in the undivided relationship may be made by the surviving spouse, a major heir or the legal representative of the minor heir. If there is no minor heir, the application must be made by the surviving spouse.

The application must be made to the court of the place where the property is located.

Who shall I contact

If granted, the maintenance in undivided status may not exceed 5 years. It is renewable in certain cases (for example until the majority of the youngest child or until the death of the spouse as the case may be)

The division ends with the division of the estate.

At any time, unless a judgment or agreement between the indivisaries You can get out of the division. To do this, you must do one of the following:

  • Give or sell your share in the unit or in a specified property. Be careful, before selling, you must inform the other indivisaires by act of the Commissioner of Justice (formerly act of bailiff).
  • Ask for splitting of all or part of the goods.

If you want to share and the others want to remain in undivide, they can ask the court to allow them to remain in undivide and allocate your share.

Who shall I contact

Please note

in addition, specific rules apply overseas concerning the exit of the division.

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