The distribution of inheritance pot according to the Bulgarian law could be done either voluntary (via notary-witnessed contract) or through the road of civil court lawsuit, which has the role to end the co-ownership by all heirs on the assets, left by the antecedent, and to distribute these assets between/among the heirs. The assets that cannot be divided (due to technical characteristics) are usually brought to the bailiff to sell these on public auction and to share the received money between/among the participants in the probate lawsuit.
It is normal that the out-of-court settlement of inheritance relations seems more effective procedure with fewer complications. One thing that brings my attention during my practice as civil lawyer is those facts that in many cases the heirs have pretentions and wish to rise disputes between them in court (i.e. every one fighting for better piece of the inheritance pot) so in rare cases they reach voluntary signing of the contract before the local notary public. This is where the role of civil Bulgarian solicitor takes place, because a lawsuit for distribution would be the sole option left for the heirs to receive their legal part of the estate.
In my practice I have noted that the court procedure involves a lot of documentation that has to be obtained from many sources – for example the civil claim has to be registered with the Land Register, once the related documents supporting the claim are obtained from the Local Authorities. It is always related with time-spending and more or less it slows the two-stage process.
Another specific which in my capacity of practicing Bulgarian solicitor I have to mention, relates to the outcome of inheritance lawsuits for distribution of inseparable assets (like apartments, villas or small pieces of land). For ending the co-ownership on such assets that are technically inseparable, these have to be sold on public auctions by the bailiff who shares the money between the heirs. So an independent valuator prepares expert-statement what the fixed actual market value of the property is and the bailiff follows it. But real estates, sold on public auction, in my personal view suffer the negatives of the fact that these cannot be bought via mortgage loan by locals due to the specific of this procedure, but only via bids with fresh cash. On the other hand these public auctions on fixed prices are targeted namely to the local buyers and there real estate agents do not participate in the process (resp. the marketing/advertisement is quite different). This is why in my view there is different financial outcome from the sale of properties on public auction on one hand, and sale of these on the non-regulated free market, where there are not restrictions on price, on another.
So I always advise my clients who wish to lodge claim for court distribution of heritage, two things:
1) To be patient, because most of them do not know the specifics of the court procedures (of course they are not supposed to) and they must get a clear view that this two-stage court process may take years, especially if related to many assets and where involving many heirs to participate.
2) In cases where they wish to end co-ownership on technically inseparable property, to be prepared to receive less money than expected on the free real estate market, once the bailiff and the court withdraw their applicable taxes and fees from the cash received on the public auction.