Abandoned real estate

Have you ever imagined that you might be entitled to inherit property in the Czech Republic? It can happen if your ancestors, who emigrated from this country, did not sell their property or inherited a share from their parents or other relatives. In such a case, their name is still listed in the Land register. In the Czech Republic, there exist 92,000 real estate parcels with an unknown owner: specifically 88,000 field & forest plots and 3,800 buildings. Since the name & surname of the last known owner is often the only information recorded in the land registry (sometimes even this is not known), there is no clue how to locate these owners or their descendants.
Real estate with missing owners is sometimes a problem, especially if it interferes with a road, construction, or a utility company needs approval to install power lines or dig a trench for gas or water lines. Therefore, by the new cadastral law ratified in 2014, the Czech government set a deadline to solve the ownership of these plots. If the missing owners do not apply at the cadastral office by 31 December 2023, these plots will automatically become state property.
The following steps must be undertaken to claim the property:
  • Prove that you are a rightful heir to the property. Usually a combination of birth, marriage, and death certificates showing a direct relationship to the owner of the real estate is essential. Your ancestors' probate documents can also be very helpful. Everything must be notarized, provided with an apostille, and translated to Czech by an official translator.
  • Initiate a new probate proceeding at the local court.
  • Register as the new owner at the local land register office, once the probate process is finished.
If we notice during our genealogy research that a client is a potential heir, we give them a rough estimate of the value of the property. They can then either proceed on their own or use our services to gain title to the estate. We charge a low fee for processing a simple probate case plus fees associated with this procedure, consisting of: collecting certified copies of birth, marriage, and death records proving heirship; obtaining official translations; ordering a certified appraisal; paying back taxes; paying notary, court, and land registry registration fees. The overall costs depend on the size and complexity of the estate and the number of heirs.
We always start with an appraisal of the property value to make sure that the cost involved in the process will be worthwhile, since a majority of the estates are quite small. We also offer the possibility of a percentage commission based on the value of the property. In this case, the heir avoids any investment and receives their payment immediately after the estate is sold.
If you’d like to have us check to see if you are a potential heir, please contact us.