Discover how to acquire Ukrainian real property under American documents.
How would you acquire Ukrainian real estate under American documents?
Here’s a quick tip for you: Pay attention to international legal issues.
Ukrainian Real Estate
To illustrate the point, imagine you inherited many luxury real properties located in the very center of the Ukrainian capital.
Your inheritance right to Ukrainian real properties is based on American will and trust agreement. Both of those documents are legal, valid, and enforceable.
Your opponents, however, wish to get a cut of your bequest. They believe that the property distribution should be under the law, rather than the will.
After you apply to receive your real estate title deed, a Ukrainian notary denies your request.
Thus, you run the risk of having to receive just 1/5 (in other words, only 20%) of your property, while you have a priority right to inheritance of the entire property based on the will and trust.
No doubt, this would feel unlawful and embarrassing. Right?
So, what would you do? Just leave your comment below.
The described scenario is what actually happened to our American client regarding Ukrainian real properties. The client’s father invested into lucrative Ukrainian real estate (namely, several luxury properties).
The client then inherited those properties under the will and trust agreement made in California, the United States. Both of those documents are valid and enforceable in the US, according to a written legal opinion of counsel licensed in California.
Furthermore, a California court tested the legality of the will and trust. As a result, the American court dismissed allegations questioning the validity of the will and trust. In other words, the California case essentially confirmed that the will and trust are valid and enforceable.
When the investment heritage opened up, the client tried to formalize her right to real estate in Ukraine.
Notwithstanding that, the Ukrainian notary refused to execute such a transfer. In other words, the notary denied issuance of a title deed to the client.
This story resembles the fairy tale of Cinderella.
In it, a stepmother neglected her husband’s daughter and cared only for herself and both of her own daughters.
Likewise, here, the client’s stepmother apparently tried to acquire the client’s property for her own benefit. As the trustee, the stepmother has repeatedly failed to distribute the real properties as the trust required.
Initially, the client knew of only one property in Ukraine. Strikingly, we discovered many more luxury properties in the client’s favor.
Consequently, we filed a lawsuit for recognition of the client’s Ukrainian real estate title with a Kyiv City district court.
Since April 2020, the Ukrainian court of first instance has appointed seven hearings so far, but then unfortunately postponed all of them. So, the court case is still pending.
Private International Law
Involving various foreign elements, this case is subject to private international law.
The Ukrainian court is, of course, to apply Ukrainian law, especially, the Act of Ukraine on International Private Law. Its most relevant articles are 70-72. They apply, among other things, to Ukrainian real estate.
Involving both American and Ukrainian legal issues, resolution of such a case may well need Ukrainian lawyers in America.
Notably, this case is of great international importance in legal, political, and economic terms. This case will significantly influence Ukraine’s legal relations with other countries, particularly the United States. As you know, the US is a leading partner of Ukraine.
This case will show whether Ukraine
- Complies with its own law (including the mentioned International Private Law Act);
- Takes into account its court cases (especially, the precedents of the Supreme Court); and
- Applies foreign documents according to Ukrainian law.
Our case will demonstrate how Ukraine protects (i) the legal will of foreign investors who buy real estate in Ukraine and (ii) legal documents on real estate investment in Ukraine.
All of this will strongly impact Ukraine’s reputation in the world. This will, in turn, determine whether nonresidents will invest into Ukrainian real estate.
US Legal Support
Over 40 documents that we prepared and filed with the Ukrainian court indicate that the law, bar (including Ukrainian lawyers in the US), court, and entire American legal system support our client.
Hopefully, the Ukrainian court will soon protect the client’s legal rights to the Ukrainian property devised under the will, too.
Ukrainian Business Law Effect
Resolution of this case is crucial not only for personal matters, but also commercial transactions. Businesses, in particular, would be able to use this case outcome in their real estate deals. A positive court decision would, for example, create a favorable environment for foreign investors buying real estate in Ukraine. This would, in and of itself, foster the Ukrainian economy.
Ultimately, this kind of Cinderella story can become a landmark case for Ukrainian business law governing foreign economic activity, including both transactional and litigation practice.
Court Case Update
With this in mind, we’ll keep you updated about the case progress and result.
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If you need legal help to acquire Ukrainian real estate under foreign documents, feel free to contact us.