In Colombia, the fourth of improvements and the fourth of free disposition are concepts related to the distribution of assets in an inheritance. These terms refer to the portions that may be assigned to heirs in a will or intestate succession (without a will).
Fourth of improvements
The fourth of improvements corresponds to a part of the assets that the testator or deceased may allocate to improve the economic or social situation of his direct descendants (children, grandchildren, etc.). The fourth improvement is reserved to ensure that the heirs have an improvement in their living conditions.
The fourth improvement has a legal limit established in Colombia. According to the Colombian Civil Code, this portion cannot exceed 50% of the assets of the deceased. That is to say, at least 50% of the assets must be destined to the legitimate, which is the portion that is obligatorily distributed among the forced heirs.
This was provided for in Article 1226 of the Civil Code as a forced assignment, but with the entry into force of Article 2 the Law 1934 of 2018 is excluded from the appropriations that by law the testator is obliged to comply with.
The fourth of free disposition is a part of the assets that the testator or deceased can freely dispose of, without having to respect the legitimate. That is to say, the testator can assign this fourth part of the assets to any person or entity, even without being related to the testator.
The fourth of free disposition is a power of the testator to distribute his assets according to his will and personal preferences. This portion is not subject to the rules of legitimacy and allows the testator to benefit persons or institutions of his choice.
It is important to keep in mind that the distribution of the inheritance may vary depending on whether there is a valid will or if the succession is done intestate. In addition, civil legislation in Colombia establishes certain protections for forced heirs, who are entitled to a minimum share of the assets, known as legítima. These provisions provide flexibility to the testator to benefit those he or she wishes and ensure an equitable distribution of inherited assets.
Finally, according to the Gerencie portal, the fourth of best and free disposition only makes sense if there is a will, since it is in the will where the person expresses his will to leave part of his assets to persons who by law are not entitled, or who have less right.