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Old 09.01.2015, 02:08
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Inheritance [rights of grandchildren]

Hello,

I had two children with my Swiss exhusband.
He is very indifferent to the girls and economically has tried to support them as little as posible because he is dependent on his parents, who are very wealthy.

I would like to know if when the grandparents die, the children might be entitled to anything.
They are very wealthy and the only son they have is my children's father.

I am afraid that he could do something to spend it all or find a way to leave them nothing from their grandparents estate.

Thank you,
Annasophia
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Old 09.01.2015, 02:48
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Re: Inheritnace

Hi Annasophia,
From what I know of Swiss laws, unless your children's grandparents specifically state in a will that they want to leave something to your kids, their only heir will be your ex-husband. He will inherit his parents' estate, that he can spends how he wishes. However, the day your ex-husband dies, whatever is left of his estate will be shared between his direct heirs, meaning a potential new wife (under Swiss laws, she gets half the estate), and the remaining half being equally shared among all his children (meaning yours and eventually the ones he may have with a new partner). In many countries, at time of divorce, a court of law will oblige your husband to pay a monthly alimony, at least for your children, in order to provide for their needs (until they reach their majority or the age of 25 in case they study) and eventually for you. In case you can prove that your husband does not abide by his lawful obligations (meaning he regularly "forgets" to pay his dues, unreasonably delays the payments, etc... you might eventually be able to seize a Swiss court with the help of a lawyer when the grandparents die, to file what we call a super provisional lawsuit, asking the court to make provisions on your ex-husband inheritance in order to insure the regular payment of the alimony... If your ex-husband does not work and the alimony for your children has been settled according to your ex's actual financial situation,you might eventually also ask for that same court of law to adjust the alimony to his new financial status. But as I am not a lawyer, do not take these words for granted. I only studied law for 3 years and these are "leftover memories" from that time... laws evolve, change, so if you are not in Switzerland, you might want to call the Swiss ambassy of the country you reside in, ask to speak with their lawyer and see whether he can give you some advice. I hope this helps. Bye.
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Old 09.01.2015, 09:03
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Re: Inheritnace

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Children and grand children are entitled to something by Swiss law.

https://www.ch.ch/en/inheritance/
Children, yes, grandchildren, no.

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From what I know of Swiss laws, unless your children's grandparents specifically state in a will that they want to leave something to your kids, their only heir will be your ex-husband. He will inherit his parents' estate, that he can spends how he wishes. However, the day your ex-husband dies, whatever is left of his estate will be shared between his direct heirs, meaning a potential new wife (under Swiss laws, she gets half the estate), and the remaining half being equally shared among all his children (meaning yours and eventually the ones he may have with a new partner).

This is correct.

Unless the grandparents leave a will, in which they can leave up to 25% to whomever they wish, including grandchildren, it all goes to the son.

Tom
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Old 09.01.2015, 09:12
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Re: Inheritance [rights of grandchildren]

The thing I find odd is how they find relatives back a generation to be included in these things. We have had 2 instances - complicated. Dispappearance presumed dead reverting to his mother & death of father which has transmitted to the son even for Swiss German aunts (we got billed for her end of life stay in an EMS) & have had to refute the claim - which we didn't know anything about - so as not to have to pay off her debts).
It's all rather strange & stressful.
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Old 09.01.2015, 09:40
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Re: Inheritance [rights of grandchildren]

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The thing I find odd is how they find relatives back a generation to be included in these things.
Only if there are no direct decedents.

And yes, debts get inherited as well (assuming one accepts the inheritance, you don't have to).

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I am afraid that he could do something to spend it all or find a way to leave them nothing from their grandparents estate.
He is under no obligation to save something for them, he can spend it all if he wishes.

Tom

Last edited by st2lemans; 09.01.2015 at 09:51. Reason: Combining posts
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Old 09.01.2015, 09:45
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Re: Inheritance [rights of grandchildren]

the interesting time will be when the ex-husband pops his clogs - don't sign anything or have your kids sign anything that declares they don't want their inheritance. He'll probably come with something when they are close to or hit 16.
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Old 09.01.2015, 09:52
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Re: Inheritance [rights of grandchildren]

Another question - where does your ex-husband live?

Swiss inheritance law only comes into play if the Swiss citizen dies while resident in Switzerland. If one is legally resident in another country at the time of death generally (and there are exceptions) the laws of the country in which one is legally resident take precedence.

So whether your children will automatically inherit from their father depends also on where their father is legally resident at the time.

(And of course on whether there is anything left to inherit.)


But as the other posters have said, no - under Swiss law your children do not automatically inherit directly from grandparents, only from their parents. Inheritiance from a grandparent can come from the 'frei quote' if the grandparents wish it, or in the case where there is no direct heir (spouse, child).

Here's a simple chart explaning Swiss 'Pflichtteil', statutory inheritance:
http://www.erbrechtschweiz.ch/files/Pflichtteile.pdf

More here:
https://www.ch.ch/de/erbrecht-was-im-gesetz-steht/
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Old 09.01.2015, 09:54
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Re: Inheritance [rights of grandchildren]

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Swiss inheritance law only comes into play if the Swiss citizen dies while resident in Switzerland.
Or has property in Switzerland, even if not resident.

Italy also has the same rules, and I'm sure that there are other countries as well.

Tom
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Old 09.01.2015, 09:58
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Re: Inheritance [rights of grandchildren]

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the interesting time will be when the ex-husband pops his clogs - don't sign anything or have your kids sign anything that declares they don't want their inheritance. He'll probably come with something when they are close to or hit 16.
What's magical about age 16?
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Old 09.01.2015, 10:04
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Re: Inheritance [rights of grandchildren]

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The thing I find odd is how they find relatives back a generation to be included in these things.
One of the (many) reasons we will have claimed Heimatrecht.

OH has no siblings, we have no children, his parents are gone. Under Swiss law, 1/4 of his estate would have to go back through his parent's line - back to the grandparents (dead) then down to their children, OH's aunts and uncles (there were many, all dead) and then to the aunt's and uncles's children (most of whom are dead) and finally their children - second (or whatever) cousins OH has never met. Nope - he would rather leave the money to charity.

Heimatrecht - executing the estate under our home country law - allows us to do whatever we wish with our hard earned pennies and Rappen.
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Old 09.01.2015, 10:11
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Re: Inheritance [rights of grandchildren]

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What's magical about age 16?
the child becomes able to sign contracts for themselves. By birth, they have inheritance rights and I'm sure the non-performing father will try to get them to give up their inheritance rights.....especially if he married again and has a wife and kids....

trust me, I've seen this happen.
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Old 09.01.2015, 20:27
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the child becomes able to sign contracts for themselves. By birth, they have inheritance rights and I'm sure the non-performing father will try to get them to give up their inheritance rights.....especially if he married again and has a wife and kids....

trust me, I've seen this happen.
Until they reach the age of 18, children (in Switzerland!) are considered minors and need their parents' consent to sign any kind of contract (the parents countersigning the contract as proof of consent). If a parent was to try to have his kids sign a document before they reached their majority (even more so regarding something as important as a legal document!), the other party would have absolutely no problem having this contract annulled/revoked in a Swiss court. The only time a minor might be held responsible for a contract he signed is when he engages his own money in a purchase, for example. And even then there might be grounds for revoking the contract! So 16 is not the age one must be careful about, but 18.

let me be clearer about what I wrote above: in case of a divorced couple with children, if one of the parent was getting his kids (under the age of 18) to sign a legal document without the other parent's consent, the validity of the document signed could easily be contested in court by the non-consenting parent and the contract/document be annulled.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 09.01.2015 at 21:31. Reason: merging successive posts
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Old 09.01.2015, 20:43
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Re: Inheritance [rights of grandchildren]

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Heimatrecht - executing the estate under our home country law - allows us to do whatever we wish with our hard earned pennies and Rappen.
An even better option is to spend them when you are alive.
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Old 09.01.2015, 21:22
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Re: Inheritance [rights of grandchildren]

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O
OH has no siblings, we have no children, his parents are gone. Under Swiss law, 1/4 of his estate would have to go back through his parent's line - back to the grandparents (dead) then down to their children, OH's aunts and uncles (there were many, all dead) and then to the aunt's and uncles's children (most of whom are dead) and finally their children - second (or whatever) cousins OH has never met.
Not true. Art. 471 ZGB. http://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classifie...ndex.html#a471

Only children (or grand children), parents (but not grand parents), and surviving partner (and only if married or registred) have a legal right to part of the estate. Siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews, uncles, and aunts have 0 right if a will excludes them.

Aditionally if and only if there is no will, 1/4 of the estate would go by default to the parents, or if one is deceased, to their (gran)children.

Art. 462 ZGB.
http://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classifie...ndex.html#a462

See also: http://www.notariate.zh.ch/dow/not_erb_wer.ppt
https://www.moribono.ch/wissenswertes/derpflichtteil/
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Old 10.01.2015, 00:11
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Re: Inheritance [rights of grandchildren]

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Not true.
That's very good news!

The Notariat here has been insisting that OH's parent's share has to go back through his parent's line back to grandpa and down again until someone left alive is found - in other words, that leaving 100% of the estate to a spouse, or to charity if the spouse is deceased, is not possible. I'll show him your links.

(Wouldn't be the first time I've been given questionable advise...)

Either way, we've found the solution in Heimatrecht - and as the chances of us still being in Switzerland when we shuffle off this mortal coil are pretty slim, organizing things according to US law is still the most sensible solution.


Actually, the most sensible solution is the one propose by k_and_e:

Spend it all before we shuffle.

Last edited by meloncollie; 10.01.2015 at 00:22.
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Old 15.01.2015, 02:11
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Re: Inheritance [rights of grandchildren]

Thanks everyone for your interesting remarks.

My question is due to the fact that when my ex and I where divorcing, the Swiss divorce lawyer mentioned that because my ex was an ONLY CHILD, his children would be legal heirs to their grandparents, as well.

I think that the difference here was that there is only one direct heir with two children of his own, making them heirs as well.

Maybe I misunderstood or maybe there is a legal loophole somewhere that he could have been aware of...

Still, all commentaries incredibly enrichning and interesting.
Once again, thank you all.
Annasophia
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Old 15.01.2015, 06:48
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Re: Inheritance [rights of grandchildren]

hi There,
Without wanting to cloud your hopes, I really believe there is no loophole in the inheritance proceedings. That he is an only child or not, your ex-husband will legally be the only one to inherit from his parents (not taking into account eventual brothers or sisters the grandparents might have, who would inherit as well). your kids, in turn, will one day inherit from you ex (I imagine that this is what the lawyer meant, that they were direct heirs to the fortune, i.e. they would not have to share anything with cousins, aunts or uncles, and that it was a clear and easy "lineage"). But I do remain quite positive on the fact that the only way for your kids to get something from their grandparents is if they decide to leave part of their assets to them in a will OR if your ex-husband dies before his parents, in which case your children would inherit your ex-husband's share of the grandparents' assets at their passing. But in any case, do not place your hopes in the belief that your children will have some legal rights to an immediate "jackpot" or you might end up being extremely disappointed. The civil code is very clear on these points and for your own peace of mind, I suggest you check it online and in English for confirmation, where you'll find all the explanations you need. your kids will have to make do with what is left of the inheritance.
you can also check this link, that provides a very clear drawing of inheritance rights. No exception made for an only child and his kids: the rules remain the same.
http://www.vd.ch/themes/etat-droit-f...us/parenteles/
I hope it helped.
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Old 15.01.2015, 09:22
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Re: Inheritance [rights of grandchildren]

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My question is due to the fact that when my ex and I where divorcing, the Swiss divorce lawyer mentioned that because my ex was an ONLY CHILD, his children would be legal heirs to their grandparents, as well.
Only if he dies before his parents.

Tom
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Old 15.01.2015, 16:15
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Re: Inheritance [rights of grandchildren]

Once again, thank you for your answer Singaporella.
Fortunately I believe in personal growth and achievement and I am educating my two girls to become independent professionals and successful at what they choose to do, as I have been taught myself from my parents (both very successful people).
I do not believe in jackpots but I do believe in legal rights and and I feel that those should never be renounced to.
If things are as you say, and I suppose that you must be a lawyer to confirm this fact without question, then it is fine.
My interest lies in being aware of my kids rights, for I am the only parent that will stand up for them 100%.
If their father spends all his parents fortune or not, I can't do anything about, but I can try to be as informed as possible for my children's sake.
I guess it's a mother's thing...
Thank you one again and good bye,
Annasophia

Last edited by 3Wishes; 15.01.2015 at 17:44. Reason: fixed typo
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Old 15.01.2015, 17:30
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Re: Inheritance [rights of grandchildren]

Also be aware that any children your ex may have, legitimate or not, will share equally any inheritance he may leave, and should he remarry half will go to the wife.

Tom
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