CHAPTER VI - IN WHAT MANNER A SUCCESSION IS ACCEPTED AND HOW IT IS RENOUNCED
SECTION I - OF THE ACCEPTANCE PURE AND SIMPLE
Art. 71. Nobody can be compelled to accept a succession, in whatever manner it may have fallen to his share. He therefore can accept it or refuse it freely.
Art. 72. The acceptance of the inheritance, has a retroactive effect, that is to say that the heir is thereby considered as if he had taken possession of the estate at the time when the succession was opened by the death of the person to whom he succeeds, whatever be the interval of time elapsed between such death and the acceptance; from whence it follows that the heir has a right to all the property which may have increased the estate during that time, and that he is likewise bound to support all the charges which may have accrued.
Art. 73. The acceptance of the heir has also this effect, that he becomes of right and without any authorization of justice, seized of all the goods, rights and actions of the deceased, under the obligation of satisfying all the charges of the succession.
Art. 74. Until the acceptance or renunciation, the inheritance is considered as a fictious being, representing in every respect, the deceased who was the owner of the estate.
Art. 75. A succession may be accepted simply, or with the benefit of an inventory.
Art. 76. The acceptance is simple when the heir has manifested his intention to be heir, without having recourse to the benefit of the inventory.
When he has had recourse to that mode, the acceptation is then called with the benefit of an inventory.
Art. 77. The simple acceptation can be either express or tacit.
A succession is accepted expressly when the heir assumes the quality of such, in some authentic or private instrument, or in some judicial proceeding.
A succession is accepted tacitly, when some act is done, by which the intention of being heir must necessarily be supposed.
Art. 78. Thus acts which are merely conservatory, and the object of which is to take care and administer temporarily, do not amount to an acceptation of the inheritance, unless the title and quality of heir should be therein assumed.
Art. 79. The donation, sale or assignment which one of the co-heirs makes of his rights of inheritance, either to a stranger, or to his co-heirs, is considered to be on his part, an acceptation of the inheritance.
The same may be said, 1st, of the renunciation, even gratuitous, which is made by one of the heirs in favor of one or more of his co-heirs; 2dly, of the renunciation which he makes in favor of all his co-heirs indistinctly, when he receives the price of this renunciation.
Art. 80. Those who are not capable of contracting obligations, such as the minors, or the interdicted, cannot accept an inheritance: but the tutor can accept the inheritances falling to the share of his pupil, and so can the curator with regard to those who are under his curatorship, with the formalities prescribed by law.
Art. 81. An inheritance falling to the share of a married woman, must be accepted by her; and she must to that effect, be authorised by her husband, or on the refusal of her husband, by the judge.
Art. 82. If the wife should refuse to accept the inheritance, her husband who would have an interest to have it accepted, in order to increase the revenues of which he has the enjoyment during the matrimony, might at his risks, accept it after the refusal of his wife.
Art. 83. When an insolvent debtor refuses to accept a rich inheritance, in fraud of his creditors, and with a view to prevent them from being paid out of the property which such inheritance would give him, his creditors shall be admitted to accept it for him.
Art. 84. Not only the person who is entitled to an inheritance, may accept it, but if he dies before having taken his determination either to accept or reject, the heirs of such heir shall have a right to accept it under him.
Art. 85. When the heirs of such heir do not agree between them on the acceptance or rejection, the inheritance must then be accepted with the benefit of an inventory.
Art. 86. The effect of the simple acceptation of the inheritance, whether express or tacit, is such that when made by an heir of age, it binds him to the payment of all the debts of the succession, not only out of the effects which he collects from the succession, but even personally and out of his own property, as if he had himself contracted the said debts, or as if he was the deceased himself.
The engagement of the heir who has accepted purely and simply, is somewhat different with respect to legacies, as shall be hereafter explained.
Art. 87. The heir of age cannot dispute the validity of his acceptance, either express or tacit, unless in case where such acceptance should have been the consequence of some deceit, fraud or violence committed against him; he never can raise such claim under pretext of lesion or grievance.
Art. 88. The renunciation of a succession, is an act by which he who is entitled to it, declares his intention to refuse it.
Art. 89. The renunciation to a succession is not presumed; it must be made formally before a notary in presence of two witnesses.
Art. 90. He to whose share an inheritance falls, may refuse it, provided he be capable of alienating; for the renunciation of an inheritance is, in all respects, assimilated to an alienation.
Thus, a minor cannot make a valid refusal of an inheritance, without the authorization of the judge, and of his tutor or curator.
The same rule applies to the interdicted.
Art. 91. A woman in the power of her husband, cannot refuse the inheritances falling to her share, unless duly authorised to that effect by her husband, or on the denial of her husband, by the judge.
Art. 92. The creditors of the heir who refuses an inheritance to the prejudice of their rights, can be authorised by the judge to accept it, in the name of their debtor, and in his stead.
In such case the renunciation is annulled only in favor of the creditors, and as far as their claims amount to; but it remains valid against the heir who has renounced.
Art. 93. Heirs who have embezzled or concealed effects belonging to the estate, shall lose the faculty of renouncing; and they shall remain heirs simple, notwithstanding their renunciation, and shall have no share in the property thus embezzled or concealed.
Art. 94. The faculty of accepting or renouncing an inheritance, becomes barred by the lapse of time required for the longest prescription of the rights of real estates.
Art. 95. So long as the prescription of the right of accepting, is not acquired against the heirs who have renounced, they have the faculty still to accept the inheritance, if it has not been accepted by other heirs, save however, the right which may have been acquired by third persons upon the property of the succession, either by prescription or by lawful acts, done with the administrator or curator of the vacant estate.
In like manner, so long as the prescription of renunciation is not determined, the heir may still renounce, provided he has made no act of heir.