* the authentic (or “public”) will, drawn up by a civil notary and registered in the Public Registry. It requires the presence of two witnesses.
* the sealed (or “secret) will, placed in a sealed envelope and delivered to the Court of Voluntary Jurisdiction, either by a Notary or by the person making the will. The act of delivery requires the presence of two witnesses.
Yes, there is a register of authentic wills (Public Regisrty), administered by Identity Malta, the Government Agency under the Ministry of Justice, which is responsible for the Land and Public Registries. This register is kept electronically. This is a public register which contains information on all the deeds concerning rights relating to things (real rights), wills and causes of preference amongst creditors (registered debts).
In parallel, sealed wills are recorded in the registers kept by the Court of Voluntary Jurisdiction.
The registration of authentic wills in the public register is mandatory.
A secret will has to be delivered to the Court of Voluntary Jurisdiction either by the testator himself or by a Notary Public.
A will which is not found is deemed to be a non-existent will.
The civil law notary carries out the registration of authentic wills in the public register. The testator is in charge of filing his sealed will with the court. The testator may also deliver the secret will to a Notary who will then proceed with depositing it in Court.
It is not the content of the will which is recorded in the public register but the information which enables it to be found. Also, the will is filed with the court in a sealed envelope, which enables the testator’s wishes to be kept secret. One may only search the secret will register if the testator is deceased.
The civil law notary is in charge of keeping the authentic wills which he has drawn up until it is handed over for inspection, together with other acts and wills of that year, to the Review Officers of the Court of Revision of Notarial Acts. After the review is complete, the original wills are deposited at the Notarial Archives.
The Registry of the Court of Voluntary Jurisdiction keeps the sealed wills filed in a sealed envelope.
The public register is freely accessible and the existence of a will may be revealed during a search for deeds concluded by a person. The content of the will is never disclosed during the testator’s life.
The registration of a will in the public register costs €6.40c.
The registration of a will in the Court of Voluntary Jurisdiction costs €20.
Anyone may query the register of public wills and obtain information on whether a particular person has drawn up a will. The contents of the will remain undisclosed until the testator passes away. It is not possible to obtain a copy of a will without a death certificate of the testator.
Upon the death of the testator, the deceased’s family may query the register themselves or through a law professional (civil law notary, judge, lawyer) in order to search for an authentic will. This query is obligatory as it ensures that the last wishes of the testator are respected. The search may only be performed 21 days after the death of the testator.
To search for a sealed will, a request must be addressed to the court registry accompanied by the death certificate of the testator.
A death certificate is necessary in order to search the register of secret wills and to obtain a copy of a public will.
A search in the public register costs €15.
A search in the court register costs €15.