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Old 18.05.2016, 18:50
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How can I leave my worldly goods to whoever I choose?

Hi,I need to finally write my Will and am a bit confused so will be very appreciative for any help please.
I'm originally from England, living since 10 years in Switzerland and intend to remain here. I am unmarried, no children, own property in Switzerland and have some cash assets in the UK. Under the Swiss inheritance laws it seems, as I am resident here, I'd be obliged to divide my estate 50% to my parents, the remaining 50% between my 3 siblings. This isn't how I wish to do it though so what is the best way to go about being able to freely decide (and document legally) who gets what in the event of my demise (mix of some family members and friends)?

I have read about Heimatrecht whereby I could get a will drawn up in the UK (and be able to express freely my wishes) and it be executed in Switzerland, then someone mentioned that family members I don't wish to include need to sign something revoking their right under Swiss law.... not quite the family Christmas dinner topic I'd been planning tbh 3 years ago I paid someone from Visenta to help me and he was utterly clueless as to how to deal with this situation and so I just left it.... I'm just a bit overwhelmed by the whole topic now tbh but I really need to get a will written and deposited in a safe place soonest before I head off on some travels (where clearly my plan is to spend the lot Thank you so much in advance for any guidance
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Old 18.05.2016, 19:00
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Re: How can I leave my worldly goods to whoever I choose?

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Hi,I need to finally write my Will and am a bit confused so will be very appreciative for any help please.
I'm originally from England, living since 10 years in Switzerland and intend to remain here. I am unmarried, no children, own property in Switzerland and have some cash assets in the UK. Under the Swiss inheritance laws it seems, as I am resident here, I'd be obliged to divide my estate 50% to my parents, the remaining 50% between my 3 siblings. This isn't how I wish to do it though so what is the best way to go about being able to freely decide (and document legally) who gets what in the event of my demise (mix of some family members and friends)?

I have read about Heimatrecht whereby I could get a will drawn up in the UK (and be able to express freely my wishes) and it be executed in Switzerland, then someone mentioned that family members I don't wish to include need to sign something revoking their right under Swiss law.... not quite the family Christmas dinner topic I'd been planning tbh 3 years ago I paid someone from Visenta to help me and he was utterly clueless as to how to deal with this situation and so I just left it.... I'm just a bit overwhelmed by the whole topic now tbh but I really need to get a will written and deposited in a safe place soonest before I head off on some travels (where clearly my plan is to spend the lot Thank you so much in advance for any guidance
Swiss real estate can only go the way of Swiss law unless it's signed away.
Other assets can be left under English law to anyone you want as long as you don't become Swiss.
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Old 18.05.2016, 19:06
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Re: How can I leave my worldly goods to whoever I choose?

Have/adopt a child, then they get everything.

I know several people who have gone this route.

Tom
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Old 18.05.2016, 19:09
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Re: How can I leave my worldly goods to whoever I choose?

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Swiss real estate can only go the way of Swiss law unless it's signed away.
Only if you are a Swiss resident (or citizen) at the time of your death.

Not the case for non-Swiss resident foreigners.

Tom
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Old 18.05.2016, 19:26
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Re: How can I leave my worldly goods to whoever I choose?

Thanks so far, definitely a no to any kind of adoption, being an Aunt is sufficient proximity to children my instructions would be for my apartment in switzerland to be sold in any case and the proceeds split.
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Old 18.05.2016, 19:53
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Re: How can I leave my worldly goods to whoever I choose?

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Thanks so far, definitely a no to any kind of adoption, being an Aunt is sufficient proximity to children my instructions would be for my apartment in switzerland to be sold in any case and the proceeds split.
Can't you transfer ownership of your main assets to your heirs while still alive? This would save a potentially nasty legal struggle. Of course they would still need to pay some taxes on the value received, and you would need an assurance that they won't turn nasty and evict you when they smell the money, but you can set up contracts for that. The legal term for transferring title ownership to another person while retaining unlimited rights to use the property as you wish is called usufruct.
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Old 18.05.2016, 20:42
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Re: How can I leave my worldly goods to whoever I choose?

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Can't you transfer ownership of your main assets to your heirs while still alive?
So long as it's not in the last ten years of your life.

Tom
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Old 18.05.2016, 21:19
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Re: How can I leave my worldly goods to whoever I choose?

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I'm originally from England, living since 10 years in Switzerland
You've been here way too long.
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Old 18.05.2016, 21:27
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Re: How can I leave my worldly goods to whoever I choose?

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Swiss real estate can only go the way of Swiss law unless it's signed away.
Other assets can be left under English law to anyone you want as long as you don't become Swiss.
This was also the advice I got from these chaps, http://www.lclaw.ch/ in Basel.
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Old 18.05.2016, 23:43
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Re: How can I leave my worldly goods to whoever I choose?

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Can't you transfer ownership of your main assets to your heirs while still alive? This would save a potentially nasty legal struggle. Of course they would still need to pay some taxes on the value received, and you would need an assurance that they won't turn nasty and evict you when they smell the money, but you can set up contracts for that. The legal term for transferring title ownership to another person while retaining unlimited rights to use the property as you wish is called usufruct.
Thanks Amogles, I can see how this could be a good idea in some situations but I am mid-thirties and would definitely not want to do such a thing now, but I appreciate the suggestion, it could be useful one day. I'm off travelling for a while though and my Kundenberator at the bank gave me a kick up the arse about sorting this out before I go, I've been procrastinating on it for a while, although plan A is to spend the lot

Last edited by 22 yards; 19.05.2016 at 12:07. Reason: Fixed formatting
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Old 18.05.2016, 23:44
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Re: How can I leave my worldly goods to whoever I choose?

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You've been here way too long.
Indeed...I shame me so
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Old 18.05.2016, 23:51
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Re: How can I leave my worldly goods to whoever I choose?

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This was also the advice I got from these chaps, http://www.lclaw.ch/ in Basel.
Argh, ok thanks. That's where the bulk of my loot is stashed in my property. Strewth, life seemed so much simpler when I only had student debts to bequeath
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Old 19.05.2016, 11:30
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Re: How can I leave my worldly goods to whoever I choose?

I have no knowledge of UK inheritance law so will focus on what is possible in Switzerland. Depending on how big the estate is and to whom you want to leave it you have few options. When considering the below I presume you know the law.

You may think of a trust to be set up who will take care of your estate when you are gone. It will require some work and depends on the size of your estate. This is fully legal and the good cause/beneficiaries can be named by you.

Under Swiss law you have the possibility to separate real estate assets out and give to a third person. So that does not have to follow the law on splitting to your parents and siblings.

Or, take your assets out of the official circuit. There are many ways of doing this like taking part of your money in cash and put in a safe at your local bank. You may do this every year and just pile it up. Use cash for your trips, give it away while alive or leave the key.

Another way of doing this is to buy assets that are not registered. There are not so many but boats do come to mind. An asset that is used quite often is a cedule hypothecaire. It is a mortgage right on your appartement. You will have to pay a small tax to create these things through the notary. These are bearer certificates which means that the person having them owns them (they are not registered on a name).

It all depends on what you want to do. Leave it all to the cats?
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Old 19.05.2016, 11:59
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Re: How can I leave my worldly goods to whoever I choose?

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Another way of doing this is to buy assets that are not registered. There are not so many but boats do come to mind. An asset that is used quite often is a cedule hypothecaire. It is a mortgage right on your appartement. You will have to pay a small tax to create these things through the notary. These are bearer certificates which means that the person having them owns them (they are not registered on a name).
Most Swiss mortgages are written as bearer in CH.

The OP needs to be aware of possible UK inheritance tax payable on their death.
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Old 19.05.2016, 12:06
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Re: How can I leave my worldly goods to whoever I choose?

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Most Swiss mortgages are written as bearer in CH.
As in can be given to anyone (not only the bank). just to clarify
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Old 19.05.2016, 12:13
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As in can be given to anyone (not only the bank). just to clarify
It usually says 'inhalber' in German, it can be given to anyone. Expect a fee of many thousands for the paperwork!
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Old 19.05.2016, 12:15
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Re: How can I leave my worldly goods to whoever I choose?

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I have no knowledge of UK inheritance law so will focus on what is possible in Switzerland. Depending on how big the estate is and to whom you want to leave it you have few options. When considering the below I presume you know the law.

You may think of a trust to be set up who will take care of your estate when you are gone. It will require some work and depends on the size of your estate. This is fully legal and the good cause/beneficiaries can be named by you.

Under Swiss law you have the possibility to separate real estate assets out and give to a third person. So that does not have to follow the law on splitting to your parents and siblings.

Or, take your assets out of the official circuit. There are many ways of doing this like taking part of your money in cash and put in a safe at your local bank. You may do this every year and just pile it up. Use cash for your trips, give it away while alive or leave the key.

Another way of doing this is to buy assets that are not registered. There are not so many but boats do come to mind. An asset that is used quite often is a cedule hypothecaire. It is a mortgage right on your appartement. You will have to pay a small tax to create these things through the notary. These are bearer certificates which means that the person having them owns them (they are not registered on a name).

It all depends on what you want to do. Leave it all to the cats?
Thank you very much indeed Tinkiwinki, there are some very useful points in there which I'll look closer into. I loathe cats though so anything involving them won't be in the plan
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Old 19.05.2016, 12:26
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Re: How can I leave my worldly goods to whoever I choose?

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Under the Swiss inheritance laws it seems, as I am resident here, I'd be obliged to divide my estate 50% to my parents, the remaining 50% between my 3 siblings. This isn't how I wish to do it though so what is the best way to go about being able to freely decide (and document legally) who gets what in the event of my demise (mix of some family members and friends)?
That is not true. With or without a will. Your siblings have no right to even a single Rappen of your estate.
In your situation with no will:
Each parents gets 50% of the estate.
If one parent is decease, the surviing parent get 50% and the other 50% gets shared by the siblings.
If both parents are decease 100% gets shared by the siblings.

With a Swiss will:
Each parent may claim 25% of the estate if they dispute your will.
If one parent and all siblings (and all of their offspring) is deceased the surviving parent may claim 50% of the estate if they dispute your will.
Siblings and their offspring can never claim anything.

Art. 458 Swiss Civil Code https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classifi...ndex.html#a458
Art. 471 Swiss Civil Code https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classifi...ndex.html#a471
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Old 19.05.2016, 12:35
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Re: How can I leave my worldly goods to whoever I choose?

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Thank you very much indeed Tinkiwinki, there are some very useful points in there which I'll look closer into. I loathe cats though so anything involving them won't be in the plan
Thank you, have fun
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Old 19.05.2016, 13:04
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Re: How can I leave my worldly goods to whoever I choose?

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It usually says 'inhalber' in German, it can be given to anyone. Expect a fee of many thousands for the paperwork!
I believe it is around 1%
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