Succession Laws in Panama


When it comes to legal issues affecting the seniors, succession law plays a critical role in determining how assets get distributed after death. This comprehensive body of law governs the complex process of determining rightful heirs, determining the manner in which assets are distributed, and determining the tax obligations that arise.

Succession laws play a critical role in Patrimonial and Medical Law by providing essential mechanisms to protect assets and facilitate the fulfillment of one’s posthumous wishes. The services of a patrimonial and medical law attorney are essential in the creation of legally binding instruments such as wills or trusts, which serve as powerful tools to ensure that your assets are distributed exactly as you desire.

Understanding the fundamental principles of this Area of Law

Rules of Succession in Panama

In the event of your demise without a will in Panama, the distribution of your assets will be governed by the laws of intestacy. These laws establish a predetermined hierarchy of heirs who are entitled to inherit your assets.

The order of succession for intestate inheritance in Panama is as follows:

  1. Surviving spouse
  2. Children
  3. Parents
  4. Siblings
  5. Grandchildren
  6. Other relatives

While it is possible to disinherit your children in Panama, specific limitations apply.

Ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes in Panama is best achieved by creating a will. A will is a legally binding document that clearly outlines how you want your assets to be distributed after your passing. Another effective option is to establish a trust, which grants you control over the management and distribution of your assets following your death. By creating a will or trust, you can have peace of mind knowing that your wishes will be honored, and your assets will be handled as you desire.

Protecting Your Patrimony from Creditors in Panama

Some of the most common methods include:

  • Establishing a trust
    It is a strategic legal option that can effectively safeguard your assets from potential creditors. By creating a trust, you initiate a legal arrangement where you transfer the ownership of your assets to a trustee. The trustee assumes the responsibility of managing these assets on behalf of the designated beneficiaries.
  • Setting up an offshore company
    It refers to a business entity that is registered and operates in a foreign jurisdiction. This can serve as an effective strategy to safeguard assets from potential creditors. This is due to the fact that creditors originating from one’s home country might encounter difficulties in accessing assets that are held within an offshore company. Learn more.
  • Renaming your assets
    By doing so, you can create an additional layer of complexity that may make it more challenging for creditors to locate and seize your assets. However, it’s important to note that renaming assets alone may not provide absolute protection, as creditors can still pursue legal means to uncover and claim assets.
  • Transferring your assets to a spouse or other family member
    In many cases, assets held solely by your spouse are generally shielded from your creditors’ claims. This strategy can provide an additional layer of protection for your assets.

Challenges of Navigating this Law Field

Some of the challenges include:

  • The language barrier: Panamanian laws are primarily written in Spanish, which can present difficulties for individuals who are not fluent in the language. Understanding the legal terminology and intricacies of the laws may require the assistance of a qualified translator or an attorney who is proficient in both English and Spanish.
  • Cultural differences: Culture in Panama may have distinct perspectives and practices regarding succession that differ from those in other cultures. These cultural differences can lead to misunderstandings and complexities.
  • The legal system: This system operates under its own set of rules and procedures, which may differ from those in other countries. This can make it challenging for individuals unfamiliar with the system to comprehend the legal process and effectively navigate through it.

Contact Us

If you are considering living in Panama for Patrimonial and Medical Law purposes, or if you are simply interested in learning more about Panamanian succession laws, reach out to Kraemer & Kraemer. We have extensive experience in helping people with their succession planning, and we can help you understand your options and make the best decisions for your future.

Contact us or send us a note to Our team is eager to address any inquiries you may have and assist you in initiating this process.

We also invite you to read our FAQs if you still have questions about Succession Laws in Panama and Patrimonial and Medical Law.

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