Inheritance Law Guidelines in Switzerland
Some time or the other, we all face the mourning of a family member. This distressing situation raises many legal questions, such as whether a will is valid, the rights of the legal or compulsory heirs, in particular the surviving spouse, registered partner, live-in partner or children, legatees, how the deceased’s real and movable property abroad is to be dealt with, or whether a notarial deed drawn up by the State where the deceased passed away is valid in Switzerland.
These are just some of the subjects dealt with by our lawyers specialising in inheritance law. They are also regularly consulted by the members of an heir’s estate, either to give them advice in connection with the right to repudiate an inheritance, for instance, or for establishing benefits of inventory, to inform them of their compulsory or statutory portion and therefore the available portion, or to represent them in inheritance disputes between heirs: action for partition in the event the heirs are unable to reach an amicable agreement, action in abatement for which the compulsory portion was reduced, invalidation proceedings aimed at the total or partial cancellation of testamentary provisions, proceedings opposing the delivery of an inheritance certificate, claim to obtain part of the inheritance lodged by a legal or instituted heir, etc.
Our clients are mainly natural persons domiciled in Switzerland and abroad, but also non-governmental organisations, associations, foundations and companies designated as instituted heirs or legatees.
Our members Firm also frequently act as an ex-officio administrator appointed by the competent authorities or as an executor chosen by the deceased in inheritance matters that often have international elements. These functions enable us to have a complete grasp of inheritance law, to understand all the issues involved, to be familiar with good practices of the judicial or tax authorities, and to develop a vast network of notaries in Switzerland and abroad.
Researches of banking assets
Our specialists, some of whom have worked in legal departments of banks, are also consulted by heirs domiciled abroad searching for assets that the deceased may have held as the holder or beneficial owner of a bank account in a Swiss bank.
In the interests of our clients, we give preference to an amicable approach when trying to resolve a conflict. Inheritance mediation is also a rapidly growing method that has a very good success rate. Finally, in certain urgent cases, or if an amicable approach or mediation has not worked, recourse to legal or arbitration proceedings is necessary.