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Tierras Legal

Titling and Property Registry

Property titles in Panama are very similar to “fee simple” titles in the United States.
Panama has a very sophisticated Public Registry with a Cadastre Department that oversees the registration of the country's property titles. The property title is the preferred type as it is easily verifiable in the Public Registry System, as well as providing the greater security of Panamanian real estate laws, as well as an accurate point of view on investments, since private property is guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Panama.

The titling process is a long procedure, which requires the following requirements:

  1. Power of Attorney 

  2. Application or degree request 

  3. Proof of how possession was acquired (For example, through a Possession Rights Purchase Contract)

  4. Certification issued by the Government Authority stating the rights of possession (Cadastre, Agrarian Reform, Mayor's Office, Corrected and/or witness)

  5. Original plan signed by an Authorized Official Engineer.

  6. Certification of the Municipal Council, stating that there is no opposition to such titling.

Succession Trial in Panama

The Property Succession Judgment Process in Panama.


Once the duel is over, the people who are close to the deceased will wonder what happens to all the goods that belonged to the deceased? Questions like who or who are their heirs? Who has the right to inherit? Where do I start? That is when uncertainty arises.

  • The first thing is to know if the deceased had a will or not.

  • The second is to contact a Lawyer to request proceeding with an Asset Succession Trial Process so that a Judge adjudicates the assets.

Regarding the first, you should take into account that there are two types of Property Succession Processes in Panama:

  •  Tested Succession of Assets in Panama.

The testada succession in Panama, is one in which the deceased has left evidence of his will through a will.

  • The Intestate Succession in Panama.

Intestate succession is one in which there is no legal evidence of the deceased to distribute their assets or, in which there is evidence but it does not meet the requirements by law. In this case, the distribution of the assets is made between the people called to inherit according to what the law provides.

Sometimes people related to the deceased know whether or not there is a Will, but they are not sure of the details of it, or when, or where it was that the deceased performed it.

In our work team we offer you the investigation services to know in which Notary of the Republic of Panama, the deceased left a record of his Will.

We understand that sometimes it is a lot of difficult information for the survivors of the deceased to process.  Below are the succession processes:

Tested Succession Process in Panama

The Testado succession process assumes the existence of a legal will by the deceased. The basic requirements to start the succession process are:

  • Power of Attorney.

  • Original of the death certificate.

  • Copy of the will.

  • Identification of the persons mentioned in the will.

  • List of movable or immovable property to distribute.

  • Appraisal of movable and immovable property to distribute.

Once the documents are received at the court, the testamentary succession trial is opened where the Judge declares the persons designated in the will as heirs.

In this trial, the judge will issue an act of declaration of heirship that must be published in a newspaper with national coverage for three days, after which the assets will be awarded.

It is estimated that the Testado succession process in Panama can last approximately 4 to 8 months, when all the heirs agree and all the documentation is in order. However, in some courts in the interior it can take between 12 and 36 months approximately.

Intestate Succession Process in Panama

Intestate succession is when the non-existence of a Will is assumed. In this case, the basic requirements to start the succession process are:

  • Power of Attorney.

  • Death certificate.

  • Obtain non-will certification from all Panamanian notaries.

  • Birth certificate of the children, if any.

  • Marriage certificate, if applicable.

  • List of movable or immovable property to inherit.

  • Appraisal of movable and immovable property to inherit. (It should be mentioned that the appraisal of assets must be suitable, determining the market value not only of existing assets in the Public Registry (such as real estate or automobiles or ships), but also considering assets such as works of art, shares in the stock market securities or in private companies).

Once the competent authority assesses and receives the documentation provided, the succession trial is opened. After evaluating the documentation, a procedure that can take several weeks, the notary proceeds to declare heirs to those who have proven their relationship with the deceased and issues a notarial deed.

It is estimated that the intestate succession process can last approximately 4 to 8 months when all the parties agree and all the documentation is in order. But equally, the process in courts of the interior can take between 12 and 36 months approximately.


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Will in Panama



A will is the document necessary to inherit.

When you are young and full of life, it is difficult to think that one day we will die. It is when we are reaching maturity and that we have reached some financial goals when we stop to think, what will happen to our assets once we die?

The most advisable thing is to leave to a Lawyer or person you trust, your wishes or feelings as to what assets or assets you are going to distribute after your death.  This will avoid discussions and uncomfortable situations between the family (whether close or distant) or their friends who may feel that they have a right to claim their assets or inheritance.

Therefore, the will is the document that serves as a legal tool to ensure that the will of the deceased is fulfilled, as long as this document meets the requirements of Law 2 of August 22, 1916 of the Civil Code of Panama.

Once the person dies, their will in the will must be confirmed in a succession process.

In Panama there are two types of succession process: testate (when there is a will according to the law), or intestate (when there is no will; or when the will exists, but does not meet the requirements of the law).

Will classes in Panama

The three most used types of wills are:

  1. The Holographic Testament: It is the one written completely by hand by the testator. To avoid nullity in this type of document, it is necessary to consider certain formalities, such as the absence of erasures, the use of legible handwriting, defining the place and date of its writing, legibly presenting the name and signature of the testator, as well as the list of assets. and of the corresponding heirs or legatees.

  2. The Open Will:  It is written before a Notary Public of Panama, who at the same time acts as a witness. Said notary presents the will as a public deed and inserts it into the notarial protocol, reducing the risk of destruction or loss. Although it is one of the simplest methods, it has the disadvantage that its content may be public knowledge.

  3. The Sealed Will: This is when the person draws up their will, and then it is delivered to a notary to be sealed, but without the notary (or anyone else) having public knowledge of the contents. In this type of will, the seal of the notary shows that its content is the will of the deceased.

Additionally, there are other types of wills such as the military, the maritime, and the one registered abroad. The will registered abroad has the peculiarity that it must follow the authentication process with legalization stamps to be valid in Panama.

How Are Patrimonial Assets Distributed In Wills In Panama?

Panamanian law distinguishes two ways of distributing assets in a will:

  • Under Universal Title: When all the assets, rights and obligations are transferred in designated percentages to each heir. For example, designating fifty percent (50%) of the value of the assets to one person.

  • A Singular Title or A Particular Title: When a property or private right is transferred to one or several persons. For example, transferring the title of a property in the name of a person.

It should be noted that the testator may not always leave his assets to whomever he wishes, since there are legal obligations with the descendants (children), ascendants (parents) and spouse (if any), who are called forced heirs.

 When inheriting, it must be taken into account that both the obligations and the rights of the deceased are transferred.

To this extent, the heirs also have the possibility of filing actions against those persons in which the deceased has claims to make; as well as, they have the legitimacy to intervene in the processes where the deceased has been sued, and for this it is required to be declared heir of said person, which is achieved once the succession process has been activated.

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