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Old 18.08.2017, 00:23
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Disclaiming inheritance

Hi, I am one of three people who are to inherit the estate of a Swiss relative according to her testament. The others are her niece and one of her nephews (she hated the other nephew and did not include him in her will). He is the only one who lives in Switzerland but his siblings have dual nationality although they live in the Uk and South Africa.
I am a second cousin once removed, do not have Swiss nationality and live in the UK.
From what I can gather there will still be debts after my relative's apartment is sold, and as I don't have much money I am worried that I may be liable for a third of them.
I read somewhere that it is possible to disclaim an inheritance within three months of the person's death, but I don't know how to do this legally. Any advice appreciated!
The niece and nephew may also want to disclaim their thirds I imagine, so what would happen then?
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Old 18.08.2017, 00:56
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Re: Disclaiming inheritance

You can look here for a start: https://www.ch.ch/en/disclaiming-an-inheritance/
You can also insist on an official valuation of the assets the estate to help your decision.
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Old 18.08.2017, 01:41
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Re: Disclaiming inheritance

Three months after death? That's crazy. What if it takes more than three months to find the heirs?
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Old 18.08.2017, 09:04
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Re: Disclaiming inheritance

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Three months after death? That's crazy. What if it takes more than three months to find the heirs?
Tough luck from the sounds of it.

"Time limits

After three months, the inheritance is deemed to have been accepted. The heirs are liable from their assets for the debts of the deceased and become the owners of the assets making up the deceased's estate.

Loss of the right to disclaim your inheritance

Note: if heirs take assets from the estate either openly or surreptitiously (with the exception of worthless items), they will lose their right to disclaim their inheritance.

What happens if I disclaim an inheritance?

If you do not want to accept an inheritance, you can do so by sending a registered letter to the competent authority at the deceased's last place of residence. The inheritance will pass to the next person in line by law. This person will also have three months from then in which to disclaim the inheritance.

If none of the heirs want to accept their inheritance, the estate will be liquidated by the bankruptcy office and the available assets used to pay the debts. If any surplus is left, this will go to the lawful heirs."
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Old 18.08.2017, 09:14
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Re: Disclaiming inheritance

The three months start with knowledge of the death, not with the death itself.
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Old 18.08.2017, 09:20
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Re: Disclaiming inheritance

Doesn't seem that's right Urs Max.

"An inheritance can be disclaimed within the first three months following the death of the testator."

No mention of it being from when any heirs are notified.

Time limit may be even tighter than the 3 months if you're not sure what the estate may be worth.

"If the financial position is unclear, you can request that a public inventory be made within one month of the death. The relevant authority makes a list of the assets and debts that make up the estate by publishing a call to the deceased's creditors and debtors in the official gazette."
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Old 18.08.2017, 09:34
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Re: Disclaiming inheritance

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Three months after death? That's crazy. What if it takes more than three months to find the heirs?
It normally takes a year to ensure that all wills have been found, and you can accept or decline even after that.

The three months is not in relation to the death, but in relation to the issuance of the inheritance certificate, which can only be issued after all wills have been found, and all contests resolved.

I know this for fact, as we went through it with MIL.

Tom
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Old 18.08.2017, 09:40
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Re: Disclaiming inheritance

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It normally takes a year to ensure that all wills have been found, and you can accept or decline even after that.

The three months is not in relation to the death, but in relation to the issuance of the inheritance certificate, which can only be issued after all wills have been found, and an contests resolved.

I know this for fact, as we went through it with MIL.

Tom
With all the paperwork, etc this is more logical.
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Old 18.08.2017, 09:42
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Re: Disclaiming inheritance

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Doesn't seem that's right Urs Max.

"An inheritance can be disclaimed within the first three months following the death of the testator."

No mention of it being from when any heirs are notified.
Urs Max is right:
<<Die Frist zur Ausschlagung beträgt drei Monate seit Kenntnis des Todes für die gesetzlichen Erben und seit der amtlichen Mitteilung für die eingesetzten Erben (ZGB 567). (since knowledge about the death for legal heirs and since official information for designated heirs). Aus wichtigen Gründen kann die Frist erstreckt oder neu angesetzt werden (ZGB 576). Die unbedingte und vorbehaltslose Ausschlagungserklärung ist mündlich oder schriftlich zuhanden der zuständigen Behörde abzugeben (ZGB 570).>> sorry, German
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Old 18.08.2017, 09:42
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Re: Disclaiming inheritance

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Doesn't seem that's right Urs Max.

"An inheritance can be disclaimed within the first three months following the death of the testator."

No mention of it being from when any heirs are notified.

Time limit may be even tighter than the 3 months if you're not sure what the estate may be worth.

"If the financial position is unclear, you can request that a public inventory be made within one month of the death. The relevant authority makes a list of the assets and debts that make up the estate by publishing a call to the deceased's creditors and debtors in the official gazette."
It would no zero logical sense for it to be 3 months after death, considering how long it can take to find and notify relatives.
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Old 18.08.2017, 09:42
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Re: Disclaiming inheritance

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Doesn't seem that's right Urs Max.

"An inheritance can be disclaimed within the first three months following the death of the testator."

No mention of it being from when any heirs are notified.

Time limit may be even tighter than the 3 months if you're not sure what the estate may be worth.

"If the financial position is unclear, you can request that a public inventory be made within one month of the death. The relevant authority makes a list of the assets and debts that make up the estate by publishing a call to the deceased's creditors and debtors in the official gazette."
Yeah. Thanks I read the link me_anon posted which is what prompted my question. Don't believe everything you read online. It's or always accurate or complete, again, which is why I asked for further clarification.
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Old 18.08.2017, 11:27
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Re: Disclaiming inheritance

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It would no zero logical sense for it to be 3 months after death, considering how long it can take to find and notify relatives.
For those with a legal mandatory share the default is indeed 3 months, starting with the death unless you can prove you didn't know about it. So for this group the term implicitly starts with knowledge about the death, too.

However, if the authorities order an inventory be made the term starts for everybody with the official decree, which includes that inventory. The inventory can't be completed until after all legal issues have been settled, that's probably what Ticino Tom referes to above.

So in practice, the three months starting with the death probably only apply if there's, essentially, just a bank account and apartment furniture to be inherited.

Kanton Bern is fairly elaborate, unfortunately the page is in German and French only.
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Old 18.08.2017, 12:04
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Re: Disclaiming inheritance

I'm also wondering about the OP's mention of one nephew being left out of the inheritance, and a second cousin once-removed (the OP) being added.
Wouldn't that nephew be included in the "automatic" part of a swiss inheritance, whereas the OP as a far-more distant relative comes under the dispersal of the remaining part?
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Old 18.08.2017, 12:09
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Re: Disclaiming inheritance

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I'm also wondering about the OP's mention of one nephew being left out of the inheritance, and a second cousin once-removed (the OP) being added.
Wouldn't that nephew be included in the "automatic" part of a swiss inheritance, whereas the OP as a far-more distant relative comes under the dispersal of the remaining part?
Legal portion (Pflichtteil) only spouse, children and parents are entitled to.
Apparently the deceased had a will (and none of the mentioned relatives).

Had there been no will, all relatives are in.
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Old 18.08.2017, 12:10
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Re: Disclaiming inheritance

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I'm also wondering about the OP's mention of one nephew being left out of the inheritance, and a second cousin once-removed (the OP) being added.
Wouldn't that nephew be included in the "automatic" part of a swiss inheritance, whereas the OP as a far-more distant relative comes under the dispersal of the remaining part?
Usually not, but it depends on the situation.

Nieces and nephews would only very rarely be legal (automatic) heirs, i.e. only if there were no living spouse, children (and their descendants), parents, or siblings.

My wife's grandmother was the legal heir of her uncle's estate, for example, as he had had no children and no living siblings, and she was the only niece/nephew.

Re-reading the OP, it seems that the other nephew should also be a legal heir in this case, and could contest the will if he wishes.

Tom

Last edited by st2lemans; 18.08.2017 at 12:20.
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Old 18.08.2017, 12:32
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Re: Disclaiming inheritance

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Usually not, but it depends on the situation.

Nieces and nephews would only very rarely be legal (automatic) heirs, i.e. only if there were no living spouse, children (and their descendants), parents, or siblings.

My wife's grandmother was the legal heir of her uncle's estate, for example, as he had had no children and no living siblings, and she was the only niece/nephew.

Re-reading the OP, it seems that the other nephew should also be a legal heir in this case, and could contest the will if he wishes.

Tom
Not if there is a will.
Once there is no spouse, children and parents (protected by the legal portion law) one is free to bequest to whom one wants. (Probably even a girlfriend etc.)
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