Under the Bulgarian legislation there are two types of wills - notarial will and handwritten will. The handwritten will must be written and signed personally by the person. In the Bulgarian law there are number of legal requirements for the validity of the handwritten will which must be observed but in any case it should not be notarized. However, it could be given to Notary Public for keeping the document until the death of the person/testator.

After death of the testator the beneficiary or any person with legal interest could apply for announcement of the handwritten will and its registering in the Land registry. The announcement is a procedure that includes drawing up a protocol by the notary for the condition of the will and reading of the entire content of the document. The date of announcing the personal will, as well as the date of issuing a verified copy of the same, shall be registered in the relevant special register of the notary. If the will has been left in the Notary's office for legal storage, the same Notary is making the procedure for announcing the will.

The handwritten wills, under which the right of ownership or other real right over real estate have been transferred to the beneficiary, are obligatorily subject to registration in the Registry Office at the location of the real estate. It`s a very formal procedure where the registry judge performs preliminary investigation of the form, content, validity and announcement of the handwritten will.

When a foreign person, who is owning a real estate in Bulgaria, decide to include it in a common will, which is prepared under the requirements of foreing legislation (applicable at his last domicile), a couple of problems could arise at its recognition in Bulgaria, if the will is not prepared under the formal requirements of the Bulgarian legislation. The practice of the Land registry is very formal and requires compliance with the provisions of the Bulgarian material law in respect of the drafting and announcing the wills. (For example, a German owns an apartment in Bulgaria and includes it in his last will together with other of his properties around the world. After his death the will should be opened in the country at his last domicile. However, for the property in Bulgaria the heirs should contact a Bulgarian Notary or a lawyer as the will must be registered in the Land registry.).

There are many problems in the practice of the Land registry when the will is not in accordance with the Bulgarian formal requirements. So far, the Land registry very often refuses to register handwritten wills announced by a notary in another country-member of the EU, although it is accompanied with official translation of the notarized verification certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria and apostille. Then, the refusal of the Land regustry shall be subject of appeal before the court which should decide, for every individual case, whether the manner of the compilation and reproduction of the content of the will is equal of copy of the announced handwritten will under the Bulgarian law, and especially whether it has the force of an official certifying document /"authentic act" within the meaning of Regulation / EU / № 650/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and adoption and enforcement of authentic instruments in the field of succession and on the creation of a European Certificate of Succession /