Brazil: Federal Supreme Court Rules All Couples Have the Same Inheritance Rights

In a ruling issued on May 10, 2017, the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal, STF) determined that, for the purpose of inheritance rights, “stable unions” and marriages have the same legal value, providing partners in stable unions the same rights as those ofmarried persons.  (STF, Recurso Extraordinário (RE) 646721, STF website.)  In a related ruling, the STF further determined that, for the purposes of inheritance rights, the equivalence of partners in a stable union and married persons also includes homosexual couples. (STF, RE 878694 (May 10, 2017), STF website; Felipe Pontes, STF:União Estável e Casamento São Iguais para Herança, Incluindo Homoafetivos, AGÊNCIA BRASIL (May 10, 2017).)

In addition, the STF determined that the decision has general repercussions and applies to all inheritance disputes in the different instances of the courts.  According to the ruling putting stable unions and marriages on the same legal footing, article 1,790 of the Civil Code, which determined different rules for inheritance in the case of stable unions, is considered unconstitutional.  (Pontes, supraCódigo Civil, Lei No. 10.406, de 10 de Janeiro de 2002, PLANALTO.) Read more via Library of Congress