Decree Abolishing Inheritance. April 27, 1918
I. Inheritance, whether by law or by will, is abolished.
After the death of an owner, the property which belonged to him, whether movable or immovable, becomes the property of the Government of the Russian Socialistic Soviet Federative Republic.
NOTE. The discontinuance and transfer of rights of utilization of farm lands is determined by the rules provided in the fundamental law of the socialization of the land.
II. Until the issuance of a decree dealing with general social arrangements, relatives who are in need (i.e., those who do not possess a minimum maintenance), and who are incapable of work-such relatives being in a directly ascending or descending line, ‘full or half brothers or sisters, or spouse, of the deceased-receive support from the property left by the deceased.
NOTE 1. No distinction is made between the relationship that arises within wedlock and that which arises outside of wedlock.
NOTE 2. Adopted relatives or children and their descendants are put upon the same footing as relatives by descent whether as to those who adopted them or as to those who have been adopted.
III. If there is not enough of the property remaining to. support a spouse and all surviving relatives, as enumerated above, then the most needy of them must be provided for first.
IV. The amount of allowance to be given a spouse and surviving relatives from the property of the deceased is determined by the institution conducting the affairs of social security in the Governments, and in Moscow and Petrograd by the municipal Soviets of Workmen’s and Peasants” Deputies, in agreement with the persons who have the right to receive the allowance, and, in case of dispute between them, by the local court, according to the usual legal procedure. Cases of this sort are under the jurisdiction of the Soviets of Workmen’s and Peasants’ Deputies and the local courts of the last place of residence of the deceased.
V. All property of the deceased, other than that enumerated in Article IX of this decree, comes under the jurisdiction of the local Soviet, which turns it over to the bureaus or institutions having control in those localities of similar property of the Russian Republic, according to the last place of residence of the deceased or according to the place where this property is situated.
VI. The local Soviet publishes, for the purpose of general notification, the death of the property owner, and calls upon the persons who have a right to receive support from the said property to appear within a year from the date of the publication.
VII. Those who do not declare their claims before the expiration of the year following the publication, as provided in the above article, lose their right to receive support from the property of the deceased.
VIII. From the property of the deceased are paid, first, the expenses of the administration of the property. The relatives and spouse of the deceased receive their allowances before the creditors are paid. The creditors of the deceased, if their claims are recognized as proper to be paid, are satisfied from the property after the deductions indicated above, on condition, in case the property is insufficient to cover all demands of the creditors, that the general principles of the meeting of creditors be applied.
IX. If the property of the deceased does not exceed 10,000 rubles, or, in particular, consists of a farmhouse, domestic furniture, and means for economical production by work, in either the city or the village, it comes under the immediate control of the spouse and relatives enumerated in Article II of the present decree, who are present. The method of control and management of the property is arranged by agreement between the spouse and relatives, and, in case of their disagreement, by the local tribunal.
X. The present decree is retroactive as regards all inheritances discovered before it was issued, if they have not yet been acquired by the heirs, or, if acquired, if they have not yet been taken possession of by the heirs.
XI. All suits now pending respecting inheritances, suits respecting the probate of wills, respecting the confirmation of
the rights of inheritance, etc., are deemed to be discontinued, and the respective hereditary property is to be at once turned over for administration to the local Soviets or institutions indicated in Article V of the present decree.
NOTE. Concerning hereditary properties discovered before the present decree is issued-properties enumerated in Article IX of the present decree a special regulation will be issued.
XII The People’s Commissar of Justice is empowered, in agreement with the Commissariat of Social Security and Work, to issue a detailed instruction concerning the enforcement of the present decree.
The present decree is of force from the date of its signature, and is to be put into operation by telegraph.
Source: International Conciliation (1919), pp. 53-56.