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17 August 2022

Military commanders get authority to certify last wills and testaments of soldiers on active duty. The new rules make it easier for members of the armed forces to bequeath property while in the war zone. 

The Cabinet of Ministers has updated the relevant regulations by introducing the new procedure. Up till now a will could only be certified by a notary.

The amended regulation provides that that when martial law is in effect, written wills of members of Ukraine’s military and law enforcement forces involved in repelling an armed aggression of a foreign country may also be certified by commanders of the respective military units or by persons authorized by them. Such wills are then to be sent through the military authorities to appropriate notaries for further certification and registration. 

Given the frontline risks and the obvious impracticability of seeking out a notary under enemy fire, the new procedure does seem to go some way towards addressing a pressing need. 

Generally, under Ukrainian law a will, to be valid, must be certified by a notary and then entered on a special register. The maker of a will is free to decide whom to leave his property to without reference to the statutory rules on intestate inheritance.

In a separate development, Ukraine has recently introduced simplified rules for death certification of those missing during a martial law period.

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