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Old 14.12.2011, 10:44
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Drawing up a will

I had a look at some previous threads regarding Wills but wanted to check a particular.

I read that British wills are accepted and adhered to in Switzerland provided the person is British.

But can i draw up a will now, as in living in Switzerland for 6 yrs and doing my will in Britain or are they only accepted if they were drawn up before moving to Switzerland?

Cheerz
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Old 14.12.2011, 10:50
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Re: Drawing up a will

You can do a UK will anytime. As a non-CH citizen, you have that prerogative

Just turn up at a lawyer in the UK, get them to sort it out and you are done. I know you don't have to use a lawyer, but we did just to make sure all was OK. In our case we used the same solicitor that managed our house buying (in the UK) while we were in CH - for convenience.
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Old 14.12.2011, 10:53
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Re: Drawing up a will

Great, my uncles a lawyer so it saves me a fortune
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Old 14.12.2011, 11:13
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Re: Drawing up a will

we are also supposed to get this sorted it out sooner or later, so thanks for the reminder...

the information I got so far revealed that it can get a bit complicated in case of mixed marriage (if married)/living abroad/property in third country/kids/in whose name the property is etc...

but if you're both from uk and property is in the uk it should be pretty straightforward.
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Old 14.12.2011, 11:23
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Re: Drawing up a will

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the information I got so far revealed that it can get a bit complicated in case of mixed marriage (if married)/living abroad/property in third country/kids/in whose name the property is etc...
dear me, i am married to a swiss, living abroad, have a property in uk, child to another woman...........
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Old 14.12.2011, 11:38
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Re: Drawing up a will

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we are also supposed to get this sorted it out sooner or later, so thanks for the reminder...

the information I got so far revealed that it can get a bit complicated in case of mixed marriage (if married)/living abroad/property in third country/kids/in whose name the property is etc...

but if you're both from uk and property is in the uk it should be pretty straightforward.
Maybe you are looking at it from an Italian perspective (), but from a CH/UK part, there is no complication.

If you are a British citizen then those rules apply.

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dear me, i am married to a swiss, living abroad, have a property in uk, child to another woman...........
Ah. OK. May be more complicated in your case then...
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Old 14.12.2011, 11:41
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Re: Drawing up a will

uups
at least you're in switzerland.
our information is based on the italian notary sending us to the german notary who then sent us back to the italian notary... each one claiming that the law of the other country is applicable. so now we're stuck between them and feeling a bit demotivated.
my impression is that they might be making things more difficult than they actually are and I really want to set out and find out for myself... but it's not easy.

in your case I think it's actually easier: the swiss have a pratical solution for everything! and they have more experience with "international" family questions. I would try to find counsel here in CH before signing anything in the UK which might eventually affect your CH family/spouse.

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dear me, i am married to a swiss, living abroad, have a property in uk, child to another woman...........
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Old 14.12.2011, 12:29
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Re: Drawing up a will

On a related note, I am British, my partner German and we jointly have a property in Germany but our main residence is Switzerland. However, to make sure my heirs don't turf my partner out of the German property, I would like to draw up a will on that matter. I thought Germany would be the logical place to do so as that's where the property is but the lawyer I spoke to didn't want to have anything to do with it. I hadn't thought of going to the UK but that may be an option.
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Old 14.12.2011, 12:51
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Re: Drawing up a will

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dear me, i am married to a swiss, living abroad, have a property in uk, child to another woman...........
If it is complicated, I'd really get professional advice, as we did. And check with both CH and UK. I think the best we can do for our kids is to make things as clear as poss and try and avoid paying too much tax.
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Old 28.12.2011, 18:17
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Re: Drawing up a will

As a British citizen resident in Switzerland I made a will many years ago leaving any estate to my Swiss wife. The intention was to protect her from claims by an adopted son from my first marriage in England, knowing how Swiss law imposes the rights of children on the estate. I lodged that will with a local Swiss lawyer.

Since then I have myself become a naturalized Swiss so I expect I will now come under the jurisdiction that I could previously protect my wife from.

I don't expect any free advice on here (although it would be welcome), just wondering if anyone knows an international lawyer here who may be expert in such matters. I do not have any confidence in the one we have used to sign and hold my old will.

Thanks for any advice.
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Old 28.12.2011, 18:23
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Re: Drawing up a will

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As a British citizen resident in Switzerland I made a will many years ago leaving any estate to my Swiss wife. The intention was to protect her from claims by an adopted son from my first marriage in England, knowing how Swiss law imposes the rights of children on the estate. I lodged that will with a local Swiss lawyer.

Since then I have myself become a naturalized Swiss so I expect I will now come under the jurisdiction that I could previously protect my wife from.

I don't expect any free advice on here (although it would be welcome), just wondering if anyone knows an international lawyer here who may be expert in such matters. I do not have any confidence in the one we have used to sign and hold my old will.

Thanks for any advice.
My understanding is that as long as you also remain a British citizen, then you can opt for your British will to be the one that is used. You need to simply write a statement to this effect in your own handwriting and sign and date it (no witness required) and place this with your British will.

This is what the ZKB wills department advised me a few years ago and what I have done...
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Old 28.12.2011, 18:31
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Re: Drawing up a will

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My understanding is that as long as you also remain a British citizen, then you can opt for your British will to be the one that is used. You need to simply write a statement to this effect in your own handwriting and sign and date it (no witness required) and place this with your British will.
This is what the ZKB wills department advised me a few years ago and what I have done...
Yes, I have, of course, retained my British nationality. If what you write is correct then you have already taken a load off my mind.

Thank you.
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Old 28.12.2011, 18:43
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Re: Drawing up a will

Yes, Curlew, do ensure/confirm in writing that you wish English (not British) law to be applied when your Will is administered.
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Old 28.12.2011, 18:55
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Re: Drawing up a will

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Yes, Curlew, do ensure/confirm in writing that you wish English (not British) law to be applied when your Will is administered.
Ah, yes, I see, good point. Thank you.

I had no idea when I joined a few moments ago that there would be such good advice so swiftly given. What a great source this place is and to think I didn't even know about it - especially after so many years here.
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Old 28.12.2011, 22:57
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Re: Drawing up a will

Just another point Curlew, if Swiss jurisprudence ( based on the Napoleonic Code) is applied to your Estate, family members inherit automatically, whether you wish them to or not! A Will drawn-up under English Law, allows you to specify exactly whom you wish to benefit from your Estate. May I suggest that you seek legal advice on this matter - a few hundred francs spent now, may save a lot of hassle in the future. Access the British Embassy website, and you will find a list of lawyers in your part of the world who specialise in such matters.
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Old 29.12.2011, 11:59
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Re: Drawing up a will

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Just another point Curlew, if Swiss jurisprudence ( based on the Napoleonic Code) is applied to your Estate, family members inherit automatically, whether you wish them to or not! A Will drawn-up under English Law, allows you to specify exactly whom you wish to benefit from your Estate.
This is why I have had, for many years, a will made out to benefit my wife exclusively. I have had an unfortunate experience with my son in the past when my father died and I now recognise that he would have no compunction in asserting any legal attribute to gain any financial benefit irrespective of my wife's significant contribution to our combined estate or my own wishes.

It had only recently occurred to me that I had overridden that prerogative by taking out Swiss dual nationality and that would take precedence in any inheritance issues.


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May I suggest that you seek legal advice on this matter - a few hundred francs spent now, may save a lot of hassle in the future. Access the British Embassy website, and you will find a list of lawyers in your part of the world who specialise in such matters.
This is exactly my intention and why I posted here in case of someone with a good experience of a competent lawyer. However, your British Embassy recommendation is a logical place to ask, thanks for that.
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Old 29.12.2011, 12:37
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Re: Drawing up a will

@Curlew171

Since you are Swiss and living in CH, I imagine that that your son could argue that Swiss law would trump UK law so I would make doubly sure that you can in fact go with the UK option as mentioned above.

In Switzerland, you can specify that all of the estate passes to the husband/wife however, your son needs to sign away his rights. I can't remember the name for this but it exists. As I understand from one case I am familiar with, you would talk to a notary for this type of question. Given the individual, it might be an issue to get him to sign.

If he will not sign, you might have to talk with a lawyer about already transferring/protecting the estate from the son. This should be possible, just a bit more difficult and costly.

I would suggest you deal with one of the legal firms in Geneva as they tend to have many more international clients that in Bern.
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Old 29.12.2011, 12:51
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Re: Drawing up a will

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My understanding is that as long as you also remain a British citizen, then you can opt for your British will to be the one that is used. You need to simply write a statement to this effect in your own handwriting and sign and date it (no witness required) and place this with your British will.

This is what the ZKB wills department advised me a few years ago and what I have done...
This is also my understanding. I am not British, but I was advised that according to Swiss law, your last place of residence determines the legislation.
However, as a foreign national, you have the possibility to apply the jurisdiction of your country of origin, if this is written in a (filed) statement or will.

So in general, there are only 2 options: if you are living in Switzerland, Swiss law applies unless you specifically state a preference for your home country's law.

There will probably be a difference between how foreign property and/or children are treated and taxed by the two countries. Therefore it is important to know all the pro's and cons for your situation, before making a decision. It is worth seeking legal advice in both countries.
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Old 29.12.2011, 13:56
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Re: Drawing up a will

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@Curlew171

Since you are Swiss and living in CH, I imagine that that your son could argue that Swiss law would trump UK law so I would make doubly sure that you can in fact go with the UK option as mentioned above.
That is what worries me - it is what I too believed before posting here.

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In Switzerland, you can specify that all of the estate passes to the husband/wife however, your son needs to sign away his rights. I can't remember the name for this but it exists. As I understand from one case I am familiar with, you would talk to a notary for this type of question. Given the individual, it might be an issue to get him to sign.
Very much so. We are estranged and I would not wish to allow him to think there may be any possibility of an inheritance - even if I knew where to contact him, which I don't. The least contact the better as my wife is afraid of him - with good reason in my opinion.
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Old 29.12.2011, 14:03
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Re: Drawing up a will

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This is also my understanding. I am not British, but I was advised that according to Swiss law, your last place of residence determines the legislation.
However, as a foreign national, you have the possibility to apply the jurisdiction of your country of origin, if this is written in a (filed) statement or will.

So in general, there are only 2 options: if you are living in Switzerland, Swiss law applies unless you specifically state a preference for your home country's law.

There will probably be a difference between how foreign property and/or children are treated and taxed by the two countries. Therefore it is important to know all the pro's and cons for your situation, before making a decision. It is worth seeking legal advice in both countries.

Once the national precedence is established there should be no complexity. My wife and I own property and effects equally and all our investments and bank accounts are jointly owned ones with everything located in Switzerland.
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