The member States of the Council of Europe, signatory hereto,
Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve a greater unity between
Wishing to provide for a registration scheme enabling a testator to register his will in
order to reduce the risk of the will remaining unknown or being found belatedly, and to
facilitate the discovery of the existence of this will after the death of the testator;
Convinced that such a system would facilitate in particular the finding of wills made
Have agreed as follows:
The Contracting States undertake to establish, in accordance with the provisions of
this Convention, a scheme of registration of wills, with a view to facilitating, after the
death of the testator, the discovery of the existence of the will.
In order to implement the provisions of this Convention, each Contracting State shall
establish or appoint one or more bodies responsible for the registration provided for by
the Convention and for answering requests for information made in accordance with Article
8, paragraph 2.
- With a view to facilitating international co-operation, each Contracting State shall
appoint a national body which shall, without any intermediary:
- arrange for registration in other Contracting States as provided for in Article 6;
- receive requests for information arriving from the national bodies of other Contracting
States, and answer them under the conditions set out in Article 8.
- Each Contracting State shall communicate to the Secretary General of the Council of
Europe the name and address of the national body appointed in accordance with the
- The following shall be registered in a Contracting State:
- Formal wills declared to a notary, a public authority or any person authorised by the
law of that State to record them, as well as other wills deposited with an authority or a
person authorised by law to accept such deposit, with a formal act of deposit having been
- Holographic wills which have been deposited with a notary, a public authority or any
person authorised by the law of that State to accept them, without a formal act of deposit
having been established, subject to that law permitting such deposit. The testator may
oppose registration if the said law does not prohibit such opposition.
- Withdrawals, revocations and other modifications of the wills registered according to
this article shall also be registered if they are established in a form which would make
registration compulsory according to the preceding paragraph.
- Any Contracting State may exclude from the application of the present article wills
deposited with authorities of the armed forces.
- Registration shall be made at the request of the notary, the public authority or the
person referred to in Article 4, paragraph 1.
- Any Contracting State may, however, in special cases determined and under the conditions
specified by its national law, provide for the request for registration to be made by the
- Registration shall not be subject to conditions of nationality or residence of the
- At the request of the testator, the notary, public authority or person referred to in
Article 4, may request registration not only in the State where the will is made or
deposited, but also, through the intermediary of the national bodies, in other Contracting
- The request for registration shall contain the following information at least:
- Family name and first name(s) of testator or author of deed (and maiden name, where
- Date and place (or, if this is not known, country) of birth;
- Address or domicile, as declared;
- Nature and date of deed of which registration is requested;
- Name and address of the notary, public authority or person who received the deed or with
whom it is deposited.
- This information must be contained in the register, in the form stipulated by each
- The duration of registration may be determined by each Contracting State.
- Registration shall be secret during the lifetime of the testator.
- On the death of the testator any person may obtain the information mentioned in Article
7 on presentation of an extract of the death certificate or of any other satisfactory
proof of death.
- If the will has been made jointly by two or more persons, the provisions of paragraph 2
of this Article shall apply, notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 1, on the death
of any of the testators.
Services between Contracting States pursuant to this Convention shall be rendered free
This Convention shall not affect provisions which, in each Contracting State, relate to
the validity of wills and other deeds referred to in this Convention.
Each Contracting State shall have the option to extend, under the conditions to be
established by that State, the registration system provided for by this Convention to any
other will not referred to in Article 4 or any other deed affecting the devolution of an
estate. In this case, in particular the provisions of Article 6, paragraph 2, shall apply.
- This Convention shall be open to signature by the member States of the Council of
Europe. It shall be subject to ratification or acceptance. Instruments of ratification or
acceptance shall be deposited with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
- This Convention shall enter into force three months after the date of deposit of the
third instrument of ratification or acceptance.
- In respect of a signatory State ratifying or accepting subsequently, the Convention
shall come into force three months after the date of the deposit of its instrument of
ratification or acceptance.
- After the entry into force of this Convention, the Committee of Ministers of the Council
of Europe may invite any non-member State to accede thereto.
- Such accession shall be effected by depositing with the Secretary General of the Council
of Europe an instrument of accession which shall take effect three months after the date
of its deposit.
- Any Contracting State may, at the time of signature or when depositing its instrument of
ratification, acceptance or accession, specify the territory or territories to which this
Convention shall apply.
- Any Contracting State may, when depositing its instrument of ratification, acceptance or
accession or at any later date, by declaration addressed to the Secretary General of the
Council of Europe, extend this Convention to any other territory or territories specified
in the declaration and for whose international relations it is responsible or on whose
behalf it is authorised to give undertakings.
- Any declaration made in pursuance of the preceding paragraph may, in respect of any
territory mentioned in such declaration, be withdrawn according to the procedure laid down
in Article 16 of this Convention.
No reservations shall be made to the provisions of this Convention.
- This Convention shall remain in force indefinitely.
- Any Contracting State may, in so far as it is concerned, denounce this Convention by
means of a notification addressed to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
- Such denunciation shall take effect six months after the date of receipt by the
Secretary General of such notification.
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe shall notify the member States of the
Council and any State which has acceded to this Convention of:
- any signature;
- any deposit of an instrument of ratification, acceptance or accession;
- any date of entry into force of this Convention in accordance with Article 12 thereof;
- any communication received in pursuance of the provisions of paragraph 2 of Article 3
and of paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 14;
- any notification received in pursuance of the provisions of Article 16 and the date on
which denunciation takes effect.
In witness whereof the undersigned, being duly authorised thereto, have signed this
Done at Basle, this 16th day of May 1972, in English and French, both texts being equally
authoritative, in a single copy which shall remain deposited in the archives of the
Council of Europe. The Secretary General of the Council of Europe shall transmit certified
copies to each of the signatory and acceding States.