International Inheritance Law

Do you live in the Netherlands and do you own assets (e.g. a bank account or a house)  abroad?
Do you have a foreign (non Dutch) nationality and do you own assets in the Netherlands?
Do you have the Dutch nationality and do you live abroad?
Do you have a double nationality?

For foreigners who live in the Netherlands and for Dutch people who live abroad but have assets in the Netherlands it is uncertain which succession law is applicable. Just because you live in the Netherlands you should not assume that automatically the Dutch law of succession is applicable to your estate. Nor should you take for granted that your assets abroad will be subject to the law of succession of your nationality. Whether the succession to your estate is regulated by Dutch law or the laws of succession of another country is determined by the rules of private international law. Each country has its own rules of private international law. In the Netherlands the Dutch authorities will apply the Dutch rules of private international law (irrespective of your own nationality), but in Switzerland or Maroco, the rules of Swiss and Marocan private international law are applied (once again irrespective of your nationality). The application of different rules of international private law can lead to different, sometimes contradictory results.

Good to know: Dutch law its applicable if you have always lived in the Netherlands, you have the Dutch nationality and all your assets are situated in the Netherlands.

Last Wills/ Testamentary dispositions

Questions that may arise:
– How is a will drawn up and can I register it?
– Is a last will that is made abroad, valid in the Netherlands?
– Is a handwritten last will valid in the Netherlands?
– Is a last will that is drafted in the Netherlands valid abroad?

In the Netherlands, except for very restricted circumstances, a last will must comply with specific forms and may only be made by a notarial instrument or by a holograph instrument given to a civil law notary for safekeeping. However in lots of other countries it is enough for a will to be valid if the will is in writing and signed at the foot or end of it by the testator and two witnesses.

International FamilyLaw Advice gives you all the information you need regarding the various forms of wills and the conditions of their validity as regards form and substance. We also indicate whether it is possible to register your will and with which organisation.

Inheritance Law

Frequently asked questions are:
– Which law applies?
– Can I choose the law applicable to my succession?
– In the absence of a will, who inherits and how much?

We provide all the information you need regarding the applicable law in the case of a cross-border succession. Will the laws of the country whose nationality the deceased possessed apply? Or will the succession be governed by the laws of the country in which the deceased habitually resided? Is it possible to choose the law applicable to your succession? For cross-border successions, we  provide all the necessary explanations concerning conflicts of laws rules.

If foreign law is applicable we give all the relevant information concerning the legal transfer of the deceased’s estate to the heirs. We explain in particular who are the statutory heirs, thus who inherits and how much if there is no will. Finally, we give information on the surviving partner’s rights in the case of a registered partnership or a de facto non-marital union.

If there is a will we investigate whether the applicable law has special rules regarding the reserved portion. The reserved portion corresponds to the part of the inheritance which devolves to certain heirs who cannot be totally disinherited. We explain which heirs are entitled to this reserved portion and how they can assert this right. Finally, you will also find information on how heirs can renounce the reserved portion to which they are entitled.