Registering and searching for wills


Registering and searching for wills
  • What are the main forms of will under Austrian law?

* the notarial will, drawn up by a notary.

* the holographic will, written, dated and signed by the testator him/herself.

* the will drawn up by the testator or a third party and signed by the testator and three witnesses .

  • Does a register of wills exist in Austria?

Yes, there is a register of wills, administered by the Austrian Chamber of Notaries.  It is maintained in electronic form. Furthermore, there is the Austrian Lawyers’ register of wills.

I. Registration of a will
  • Why should I register my will?

It is not mandatory to register all forms of will (e.g. a “personal” will can be kept at the testator’s home).  However, a will that is not found is deemed to be non-existent. }

It is therefore advisable to have the will entered in the register.  The testator can then be sure that his/her last wishes will be respected following his/her death.

  • Who can carry out the registration?

Notaries, courts or lawyers can register wills kept by them.  Although it is possible to draw up a will yourself, the assistance of a notary is particularly valuable given that they are specialists in this regard.

It is not the content of the will that is entered in the register but, rather, the information that enables the will to be found upon the death of the testator.

  •   Where is the will kept?

Notaries, courts or lawyers are responsible for the safekeeping of the wills entrusted to them by the testators.

  • Can the testator’s family members consult the register while he/she is still alive?

No, the existence of a will and its contents shall remain a secret during the entire life of the testator.

II. Searching for wills
  • Who is entitled to search the register of wills?  

Upon the death of the testator, a notary is appointed as court commissioner on the basis of a predetermined distribution order to handle the inheritance proceedings on behalf of the court.  Only the court commissioner is entitled to search the register of wills.  This search is mandatory, as it ensures that the testator’s last will and testament is found.

  • Is it necessary to present a death certificate?  

There is no obligation to submit a death certificate.  The requirement regarding the opening of probate proceedings for the inspection of the register of wills ensures that the existence of the will remains secret during the testator’s lifetime.

  • How much does a search of the register cost?

The search of the Austrian register by the court commissioner is free of charge.


Fiche pratique - inscrire et rechercher un testament - Autriche - EN