INHERITANCE - legal services

The Swiss code of civil law allows every adult person to organise the distribution of his or her wealth to heirs of their choice. There are however some restrictions defined by the law, as there are statutory minimum portions of an inheritance due to the spouse (or registered partner), parents and children. Furthermore, the will must be certified by a notary or else written completely by hand.

If the deceased was an expatriate, the Act on Private International Law (IPRG) determines the applicable laws. Usually, the laws of the last country of residence apply to the inheritance. However, the IPRG allows foreign citizens to choose the laws of their home country. This must be done by establishing a last will, or within a contract of inheritance. Our lawyers can advise you on both cases and offer you a tailor-made solution according to your requirements.

Apart from foreign real estate, the Swiss authorities of the last domicile will have jurisdiction over all inheritance-related matters.

The law chosen by an expatriate is of prime importance, as Swiss laws will differ from foreign ones. This can have important consequences on almost all legal issues related to inheritance.

In cases where the deceased did not establish a last will or a contract of inheritance, the order of inheritance laid down in the Swiss code of civil law will apply. This order is determined by a system of family relationships of the deceased: the so-called “Parental” system.

This system recognizes three different groups (parentals) in the following order: The descendants, the parents and their descendants and the grandparents and their descendants. Parallel to this system, the surviving spouse (or registered partner) will also inherit. When one of the above-mentioned parentals is able to inherit, other members will be excluded from the inheritance. The share of each heir can vary considerably according to each individual case.

Our services include drafting and notarising testamentary contracts and last wills, assisting clients in abatement and succession planning, appointing an heir or establishing a trust and planning charitable donations. We counsel surviving dependants in probate disputes and conduct lawsuits such as concerning legitimate portions, invalid testaments or partitioning succession among heirs. With the aid of legal action, we enforce your claims and dispute third party claims. In addition, we administer the execution of the deceased’s last will and govern the administration of estates. We are based in Basel and you book with us a free consultation