Law In Lebanon
1- Which Inheritance Law Applies?
2- Is there a Reserved Portion?
3- Is it normal and advisable to make a
4- During the lifetime of the
property-owner, can property be gifted?
5- Problems of Inheritance
6- Foreigners and Difference of Religions
1- Which Inheritance
The answer to that question is clear in Article 3 of the
Accordingly, the opening place of the estate shall be at the
deceased's last domicile regardless of the place where the
property is located.
The wife who is not legally separated from her husband, shall be
considered as domiciled at the place of domicile of her husband,
and the minors at the domicile of their legal or appointed
guardian; in case they do not have a legal or appointed guardian,
they shall be considered domiciled at the place where the whole
estate or where its major portion is situated.
As for the domicile of the missing person it shall be the last
domicile he had before his death.
The Competent Tribunal in what relates to inheritance issues are
the first instance civil courts in Lebanon.
Shall not be qualified to inheritance:
a - The fetus who is not born within three hundred days following
the day of the decedent’s death.
b - The dead born child.
2- Is there a Reserved
The Lebanese Legislator and in order to preserve an equilibrium in
what relates to the Inheritance distribution has noticed a
reserved portion for the closest relatives or heirs.
What remains is the disposable quote (Quotité disponible-in
This issue will appear of course in a presence of a will for
In this case a will shall be reduced in what relates to the
portion which transgresses over the reserved shares of the
descendants, parents and spouse.
The reserved shares of the descendants shall be fifty percent of
the entire real and personal estate. If all the children are
alive, they shall equally divide this share irrespective of their
number and without any discrimination based on sex.
If one of them is predeceased, his descendants shall replace him
as regards the share that would have received had he been still
alive. This share shall be equally divided between them.
The reserved share of the surviving spouse shall be thirty
The surviving parent shall be entitled to the share reserved for
In a case where the descendants concur with the spouse and the
parents or one of them, the reserved share shall be thirty percent
to the descendants, ten percent to the living spouse and ten
percent to the parents or to the surviving one.
When the descendants are assembled with the spouse and the parents
or one of the parents, the reserved share shall be forty percent
to the descendants, ten percent to the spouse and ten percent to
both parents or to the one surviving the decedent .
In a case where the testator leaves a spouse and parents or one of
the parents, the reserved share shall be twenty percent to the
spouse, fifteen percent to the father and fifteen percent to the
The will that exceeds the disposable portion shall be reduced to
that portion on the opening of the inheritance. Reduction may only
be claimed by the heirs having reserved shares, their general
heirs, delegates or successors.
For the purpose of determining the disposable portion, the value
of the donations made during the life of the testator shall be
added to his net estate, after payment of debts, at their value at
the time of donation.
3-Is it normal and advisable to make a Will and what happens in
case of case of Intestacy?
As for any country a will is advisable in case any person wants to
distribute his inheritance.
Otherwise the inheritance would be distributed according to the
The inheritance will be distributed according to the following
The heirs are be divided mainly into three orders:
The first order: Children and their descendants.
The second order: Father, Mother and their ascendants.
The third order: Brothers, Sisters and their descendants.
Each existing order prevents the following order from acquiring
rights in the inheritance with some tuning to that principle:
For instance, even in the presence of children the parents of the
deceased will get for instance one sixth of the inheritance…
Should there be among the decedent’s children some who have
predeceased him, their descendants shall replace their father in
the decedent’s estate and receive the share that would have
devolved to their father had he been still alive. This share shall
be equally divided between them.
This process is called "Representation"
A will can be made through a lawyer.
The will drawn up in Lebanon shall be either authentic or
holographic instrument. Will of Lebanese nationals in a foreign
country shall be drawn up and legalized pursuant to the procedures
provided for in the law of inheritance of 1959 or in conformity
with the procedures, in effect in the country where it is made,
concerning ratification of authentic acts.
The authentic will shall be drawn up by the notary public.
The will may be holographic entirely hand - written by the
testator, signed and dated by him. In this case, it should be
deposited, by the testator himself or his proxy, under sealed
envelop and the seal shall be ratified by the notary public.
Mention of the existence of such will shall be made in a special
register. If the will is drafted in a foreign country, it shall be
deposited with the notary public or the Lebanese Consul.
As concerns the will of a soldier in the battlefield, the officer,
lieutenant in rank or above, shall act as a substitute for the
notary public. This will, shall be considered as inexistent, after
the expiration of three months dating from the day of the
testator’s return to a place where it is possible for him to make
a will according to the common procedures
4-During the lifetime of the property-owner, can property be
It is prohibited for any heir to "sell" or "deal" with his
inheritance for 2 main reasons:
-The first is ethical since the person to whom the inheritance
belongs is still alive
-The second is rational since that person is still able to dispose
of his goods…
A property can be gifted during the lifetime and it is counted as
a donation which will be taken into consideration when determining
the reserved portion and the disposable quote.
5- Problems of Inheritance
In what relates to the real estate ownership, the issue is simple.
Lebanese Laws consider that the registration at the Lebanese land
registry and getting the title deed is the ultimate proof of
Therefore, at the moment of opening of the inheritance the title
deed and the inscriptions at the land registry are the key factors
International Private Law issues occur as well in the matters of
inheritance whether it relates to Lebanese or foreigners.
According to Lebanese Laws the opening place of the estate shall
be at the deceased's last domicile regardless of the place where
the property is located.
Other problems may occur in Inheritance process such as in case of
If several persons who inherit one another, have perished in one
In that case the court shall be required to determine the time of
their deaths based on the circumstances of the accident, their
age, health conditions, and other factors.
If it is impossible to determine the order of deaths, they shall
be considered as having passed away at the same time and the
estate of each one of them shall devolve to his living heirs.
and Difference of Religions
The difference of nationality shall not prevent inheritance
between Lebanese nationals and foreigners unless the foreigner's
law forbids Lebanese nationals to inherit him.
If the foreigner’s law prescribes certain limitations to the right
of inheritance, accordingly, the foreigner shall only be entitled
to whatever his law authorizes Lebanese nationals to inherit.
The difference of religion shall not prevent inheritance unless
the heir is governed by provisions that prohibit inheritance on
account of difference of religion.
Mattar law firm