Go Back   English Forum Switzerland > Help & tips > Family matters/health  
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 11.04.2018, 12:28
Newbie
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Ticino
Posts: 8
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 11 Times in 4 Posts
Cynthea has no particular reputation at present
Swiss inheritance law question

Hello,
I am looking for clarification regarding the inheritance laws in Switzerland and the legality of the situation that my siblings and I find ourselves in.

I do not know where to start really as this whole thing has me quite confused. I am only vaguely familiar with UK inheritance laws where one writes a will and basically distributes the estate as they see fit... a comment made by my mother lead me to do some research and I see that things are different in Switzerland.

My father passed away just over a year ago and my mother was the soul beneficiary of his estate. Neither I, my 3 brothers, his ex wife (who he was still paying alimony to) or her 2 children with him inherited anything.

A little back story here to give more information on how this came to be.

I remember a conversation my parents had with my brothers and me when we were teenagers. Telling us that everything that my father owned was put in my mother's name. House, cars and bank accounts. We were told that this was done to avoid possible situations with his ex wife.
Nothing was mentioned about wills or the impact such actions would have on us.
Being young and still under our parent's influences we nodded and accepted it as fact. I thought nothing more of it, why should I after all?

Fast forward many years and my poor father suffered a series of debilitating health problems, it was clear that he was fading fast.
One day my mother said to me out of the blue "You know that when your father dies you won't be getting anything, right?" I nodded and instinctively said "Yes. I wasn't expecting anything anyway" -Thinking that he had written a will similar to the way things are done in the UK and he had left everything to my mother.

After he passed away I wondered why she would have felt the need to inform me of this...so I did some research.
I found that in Switzerland the children and possibly grandchildren are entitled to at least some share of the estate. Most of it goes to the wife and she has the right to live in the house but I could not find a case in which she is the sole beneficiary....
So now I see why they put everything in her name.... I later found out that my father was legally registered as being bankrupt at the time of his passing.

All in all I believe this action was taken primarily to spite the ex-wife. My mother was always bitter about the substantial payments that were made to her over the many years. She even went as far as to say that if my 2 sister in laws challenge the fact that they inherited nothing from my father she would "fight them in court over it" leading me to believe that also my brothers and I would be entitled to something?

So I suppose the question here is... Is this legal? Were the actions taken by my parents just some clever perfectly legal loop hole they found,
with the only problem here being a moral one in the regards to 6 children?

I might add that I have not even received any legal letter or legal communication what so ever about this whole thing either.

I thank you in advance for your time and any insight you may have on this situation!
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 11.04.2018, 12:40
fatmanfilms's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Verbier
Posts: 17,997
Groaned at 288 Times in 237 Posts
Thanked 15,534 Times in 8,627 Posts
fatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Swiss inheritance law question

If your father was bankrupt at death, there were only debts to inherit. Do you want to inherit the debt?

Quote:
View Post
Hello,
I am looking for clarification regarding the inheritance laws in Switzerland and the legality of the situation that my siblings and I find ourselves in.

I do not know where to start really as this whole thing has me quite confused. I am only vaguely familiar with UK inheritance laws where one writes a will and basically distributes the estate as they see fit... a comment made by my mother lead me to do some research and I see that things are different in Switzerland.

My father passed away just over a year ago and my mother was the soul beneficiary of his estate. Neither I, my 3 brothers, his ex wife (who he was still paying alimony to) or her 2 children with him inherited anything.

A little back story here to give more information on how this came to be.

I remember a conversation my parents had with my brothers and me when we were teenagers. Telling us that everything that my father owned was put in my mother's name. House, cars and bank accounts. We were told that this was done to avoid possible situations with his ex wife.
Nothing was mentioned about wills or the impact such actions would have on us.
Being young and still under our parent's influences we nodded and accepted it as fact. I thought nothing more of it, why should I after all?

Fast forward many years and my poor father suffered a series of debilitating health problems, it was clear that he was fading fast.
One day my mother said to me out of the blue "You know that when your father dies you won't be getting anything, right?" I nodded and instinctively said "Yes. I wasn't expecting anything anyway" -Thinking that he had written a will similar to the way things are done in the UK and he had left everything to my mother.

After he passed away I wondered why she would have felt the need to inform me of this...so I did some research.
I found that in Switzerland the children and possibly grandchildren are entitled to at least some share of the estate. Most of it goes to the wife and she has the right to live in the house but I could not find a case in which she is the sole beneficiary....
So now I see why they put everything in her name.... I later found out that my father was legally registered as being bankrupt at the time of his passing.

All in all I believe this action was taken primarily to spite the ex-wife. My mother was always bitter about the substantial payments that were made to her over the many years. She even went as far as to say that if my 2 sister in laws challenge the fact that they inherited nothing from my father she would "fight them in court over it" leading me to believe that also my brothers and I would be entitled to something?

So I suppose the question here is... Is this legal? Were the actions taken by my parents just some clever perfectly legal loop hole they found,
with the only problem here being a moral one in the regards to 6 children?

I might add that I have not even received any legal letter or legal communication what so ever about this whole thing either.

I thank you in advance for your time and any insight you may have on this situation!
Reply With Quote
The following 3 users would like to thank fatmanfilms for this useful post:
  #3  
Old 11.04.2018, 12:44
Newbie
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Ticino
Posts: 8
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 11 Times in 4 Posts
Cynthea has no particular reputation at present
Re: Swiss inheritance law question

I suppose that is true. Though technically he was only registered as such because he put everything in my mother's name. He was in fact quite wealthy beforehand.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 11.04.2018, 13:01
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Leimbach, Zürich
Posts: 5,726
Groaned at 325 Times in 259 Posts
Thanked 6,412 Times in 3,224 Posts
EdwinNL has a reputation beyond reputeEdwinNL has a reputation beyond reputeEdwinNL has a reputation beyond reputeEdwinNL has a reputation beyond reputeEdwinNL has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Swiss inheritance law question

- Is this handled under UK law or under Swiss Law?
- Why would the Ex-wife inherit anything?

You might want to read here: https://www.ch.ch/en/matrimonial-regime/

And here: https://www.ch.ch/en/inheritance/

You would need to get hold of the testament, and have to see if all assets are in a legally proper way put into your mums ownership, you would have to see the marital conditions to see if those are fully legal and are covering all, and than you'd have to see if from his assets (if any) all the debts are paid what will be left.

Than if you disagree you'd have to go to court to claim what you think is yours.

If it was up to me, both your parents agreed on this and it is their money, just let it be, even if she now decides to spend it all after all they themselves worked for it.

Last edited by EdwinNL; 11.04.2018 at 13:16.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank EdwinNL for this useful post:
  #5  
Old 11.04.2018, 13:09
aSwissInTheUS's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Zurich area
Posts: 10,358
Groaned at 80 Times in 71 Posts
Thanked 15,730 Times in 6,966 Posts
aSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Swiss inheritance law question

Quote:
View Post
I do not know where to start really as this whole thing has me quite confused. I am only vaguely familiar with UK inheritance laws where one writes a will and basically distributes the estate as they see fit... a comment made by my mother lead me to do some research and I see that things are different in Switzerland.
Many things are not clear:
What nationalities had your dad?
In which country did your dad live when he passed away?
What was the martial property regime?
What do you mean by "legally registered as being bankrupt"?
How long ago was the transfer of ownership?

See also: https://www.ch.ch/en/how-can-i-regul...-to-my-estate/
Reply With Quote
The following 5 users would like to thank aSwissInTheUS for this useful post:
  #6  
Old 11.04.2018, 13:11
st2lemans's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Lugano
Posts: 26,978
Groaned at 1,693 Times in 1,295 Posts
Thanked 31,328 Times in 14,973 Posts
st2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Swiss inheritance law question

Quote:
View Post
I suppose that is true. Though technically he was only registered as such because he put everything in my mother's name. He was in fact quite wealthy beforehand.
Depends on how many years before his deather this was done.

More then 10, perfectly legal.

5-10, you might be able to argue it.

Less than 5, you have a legal claim.

Tom
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 11.04.2018, 13:12
miniMia's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: romandie
Posts: 9,998
Groaned at 99 Times in 90 Posts
Thanked 8,996 Times in 4,470 Posts
miniMia has a reputation beyond reputeminiMia has a reputation beyond reputeminiMia has a reputation beyond reputeminiMia has a reputation beyond reputeminiMia has a reputation beyond reputeminiMia has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Swiss inheritance law question

In Switzerland, if your father on paper had nothing, there is nothing for you. However, you should look into this because it's not strictly true that you inherite nothing. You can also inherit debt which you must renounce!

There is a time limit. So you might want to inquire.

Where was your father resident at the time of his death?

PS I'm sorry for your loss.
Reply With Quote
The following 4 users would like to thank miniMia for this useful post:
  #8  
Old 11.04.2018, 13:25
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Nyon
Posts: 997
Groaned at 15 Times in 14 Posts
Thanked 1,104 Times in 533 Posts
Rachel Moore has a reputation beyond reputeRachel Moore has a reputation beyond reputeRachel Moore has a reputation beyond reputeRachel Moore has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Swiss inheritance law question

Hi, could you kindly clarify the following:


Did your father and mother live in CH or the UK?


Is the property you speak of in CH?


Are you all Swiss citizens?


You are correct regarding CH law and property following death. Where no children are in existence, the spouse receives 100%. Where children are involved, the spouse receives 50% with the remaining 50% being evenly divided between the number of children. Be well aware that each Canton's rules may very well differ, so check with yours. Now, this is only the case where no Will is in place. If a Will is presented, then clearly this takes preference.


Have a look at this legal presentation on the subject.


file:///C:/Users/Maintenant%20Prêt/A...intlestate.pdf
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 11.04.2018, 15:31
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Zürich
Posts: 208
Groaned at 11 Times in 8 Posts
Thanked 255 Times in 109 Posts
ukal123 has an excellent reputationukal123 has an excellent reputationukal123 has an excellent reputationukal123 has an excellent reputation
Re: Swiss inheritance law question

If your late father was "Wohnhaft" in Switzerland at the time of his death, all of his local assets are split 50/50 where the wife inhertits 50% and the remaining 50% are split between the children.

Even if a will exist in Switzerland, there is something called a "Pflichterbe" which means the kids cant be "Enterbt" only if your late father can prove his kids tried to kill him in order to get to his money sooner. "Grobe verletzung des Familien Gesetzt..

Best is to hire a capable lawyer who will approach your mother/stepmother and ask her for the relevant proofs...
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 11.04.2018, 16:00
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Leimbach, Zürich
Posts: 5,726
Groaned at 325 Times in 259 Posts
Thanked 6,412 Times in 3,224 Posts
EdwinNL has a reputation beyond reputeEdwinNL has a reputation beyond reputeEdwinNL has a reputation beyond reputeEdwinNL has a reputation beyond reputeEdwinNL has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Swiss inheritance law question

Let's also not forget that it would be likely that those to whom dad had debts also might have had a look in to this to see if there is anything to gain, and that the inheritance/will had to be handled by someone who also should have looked if there was anything to gain to pay of the debts whole or partly. And if there was something in it for OP there for certain must have been things in it to pay towards the debts.

Which is why I deem the chances very low of OP being able to get anything.
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank EdwinNL for this useful post:
  #11  
Old 11.04.2018, 20:29
3Wishes's Avatar
Moderately Amused
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Bern area
Posts: 9,418
Groaned at 54 Times in 51 Posts
Thanked 14,803 Times in 6,820 Posts
3Wishes has a reputation beyond repute3Wishes has a reputation beyond repute3Wishes has a reputation beyond repute3Wishes has a reputation beyond repute3Wishes has a reputation beyond repute3Wishes has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Swiss inheritance law question

Don't want to drag too far off-topic but I am curious...

I thought that if a couple is married and living in Switzerland, all assets they have are considered as being owned 50/50, no matter whose name it is in. So even if everything is listed in her name, technically half of it is his. Which means that upon his death, half of that half (1/4 of the total) goes to the wife and the remaining half (1/4 of the total) is split amongst the children.

If that's how it works (admitting I might not have it quite right), I don't see how you can have one bankrupt spouse and one millionaire, so to speak. Can someone please clarify?
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 11.04.2018, 20:34
aSwissInTheUS's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Zurich area
Posts: 10,358
Groaned at 80 Times in 71 Posts
Thanked 15,730 Times in 6,966 Posts
aSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Swiss inheritance law question

Quote:
View Post
If that's how it works (admitting I might not have it quite right), I don't see how you can have one bankrupt spouse and one millionaire, so to speak. Can someone please clarify?
It depends on the matrimonial property regime: https://www.ch.ch/en/matrimonial-regime/

Note that inherited goods and money is always only his or hers and is never shared property.
Reply With Quote
The following 3 users would like to thank aSwissInTheUS for this useful post:
  #13  
Old 11.04.2018, 20:50
fatmanfilms's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Verbier
Posts: 17,997
Groaned at 288 Times in 237 Posts
Thanked 15,534 Times in 8,627 Posts
fatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Swiss inheritance law question

Quote:
View Post
Don't want to drag too far off-topic but I am curious...

I thought that if a couple is married and living in Switzerland, all assets they have are considered as being owned 50/50, no matter whose name it is in. So even if everything is listed in her name, technically half of it is his. Which means that upon his death, half of that half (1/4 of the total) goes to the wife and the remaining half (1/4 of the total) is split amongst the children.

If that's how it works (admitting I might not have it quite right), I don't see how you can have one bankrupt spouse and one millionaire, so to speak. Can someone please clarify?
Only assets acquired after the marriage are split, anything owned prior to the marriage or inherited assets are not split. This is the default regime & standard throughout much of Europe.
Reply With Quote
The following 3 users would like to thank fatmanfilms for this useful post:
  #14  
Old 11.04.2018, 20:57
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Neuchatel
Posts: 22,869
Groaned at 544 Times in 416 Posts
Thanked 25,381 Times in 11,638 Posts
Odile has a reputation beyond reputeOdile has a reputation beyond reputeOdile has a reputation beyond reputeOdile has a reputation beyond reputeOdile has a reputation beyond reputeOdile has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Swiss inheritance law question

There is a way to by-pass the 50% for spouse and 50% for kids. We have done it . it is called a successoral pact- and must be agreed by the children and done officially with a notary. When one of us dies, the other will inherit 100%, and when second goes- they will share 100%.

But yes- if he was bankrupt and wou accept your part of the inheritance, you will be responsible for that % of debts- so be VERY careful.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 11.04.2018, 21:07
fatmanfilms's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Verbier
Posts: 17,997
Groaned at 288 Times in 237 Posts
Thanked 15,534 Times in 8,627 Posts
fatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Swiss inheritance law question

Quote:
View Post
There is a way to by-pass the 50% for spouse and 50% for kids. We have done it . it is called a successoral pact- and must be agreed by the children and done officially with a notary. When one of us dies, the other will inherit 100%, and when second goes- they will share 100%.

But yes- if he was bankrupt and wou accept your part of the inheritance, you will be responsible for that % of debts- so be VERY careful.
I guess the 'children' need to be adults to do this. Swiss born & educated children who expect 'their' inheritance may not accept the idea. Of course, your children lived all their lives in the UK where leaving the spouse 100% is normal.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 11.04.2018, 21:30
3Wishes's Avatar
Moderately Amused
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Bern area
Posts: 9,418
Groaned at 54 Times in 51 Posts
Thanked 14,803 Times in 6,820 Posts
3Wishes has a reputation beyond repute3Wishes has a reputation beyond repute3Wishes has a reputation beyond repute3Wishes has a reputation beyond repute3Wishes has a reputation beyond repute3Wishes has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Swiss inheritance law question

Quote:
View Post
It depends on the matrimonial property regime: https://www.ch.ch/en/matrimonial-regime/

Note that inherited goods and money is always only his or hers and is never shared property.
Quote:
View Post
Only assets acquired after the marriage are split, anything owned prior to the marriage or inherited assets are not split. This is the default regime & standard throughout much of Europe.
I knew about the pre-marriage assets and also inheritances bit.

The matrimonial property regime stuff is interesting and I wasn't aware of it. I assume most marriages are under the default, but perhaps OP's parents went for separate estates and somehow transferred all of his assets to her, but none of his debts. Complicated indeed!
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 11.04.2018, 21:39
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Neuchatel
Posts: 22,869
Groaned at 544 Times in 416 Posts
Thanked 25,381 Times in 11,638 Posts
Odile has a reputation beyond reputeOdile has a reputation beyond reputeOdile has a reputation beyond reputeOdile has a reputation beyond reputeOdile has a reputation beyond reputeOdile has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Swiss inheritance law question

Quote:
View Post
I guess the 'children' need to be adults to do this. Swiss born & educated children who expect 'their' inheritance may not accept the idea. Of course, your children lived all their lives in the UK where leaving the spouse 100% is normal.
Indeed they have to be adults. We explained how Swiss Inheritance Law works- and as a family, we all agreed that the successoral pact was the best option. They totally agree that they will get their share when the second of us dies. No divorce, no ex - so it is simpler.
Reply With Quote
The following 3 users would like to thank Odile for this useful post:
  #18  
Old 11.04.2018, 21:47
st2lemans's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Lugano
Posts: 26,978
Groaned at 1,693 Times in 1,295 Posts
Thanked 31,328 Times in 14,973 Posts
st2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Swiss inheritance law question

Quote:
View Post
I thought that if a couple is married and living in Switzerland, all assets they have are considered as being owned 50/50, no matter whose name it is in. So even if everything is listed in her name, technically half of it is his. Which means that upon his death, half of that half (1/4 of the total) goes to the wife and the remaining half (1/4 of the total) is split amongst the children.
Depends.

As ASITUS said, inherited stuff is always separate, as is anything one buys with inherited assets, regardless of the marriage regime.

While one can select shared assets, my wife's lawyer told me that in 30 years of practice, he'd never seen anyone do that. Shared assets mean that you share stuff you brought into the marriage, excluding inheritance which never can be shared.

Normal is that assets acquired during the marriage bought with earnings during the marriage are shared 50/50.

Separate means that all is separate.

Tom
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 11.04.2018, 21:49
st2lemans's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Lugano
Posts: 26,978
Groaned at 1,693 Times in 1,295 Posts
Thanked 31,328 Times in 14,973 Posts
st2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Swiss inheritance law question

Quote:
View Post
perhaps OP's parents went for separate estates and somehow transferred all of his assets to her, but none of his debts.
They don't have to.

If done more than ten years before death, perfectly legal and not legally challengeble. (BTDT)

Tom
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank st2lemans for this useful post:
  #20  
Old 11.04.2018, 21:54
Newbie
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Ticino
Posts: 8
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 11 Times in 4 Posts
Cynthea has no particular reputation at present
Re: Swiss inheritance law question

Quote:
View Post
Indeed they have to be adults. We explained how Swiss Inheritance Law works- and as a family, we all agreed that the successoral pact was the best option. They totally agree that they will get their share when the second of us dies. No divorce, no ex - so it is simpler.
Unlike my parents, you fully informed your children of all the details and the implications of those actions, so an informed discussion was had for all parties. Which I feel is a perfectly honest and correct approach.
Unfortunately no such discussion took place in our case, a lot of information was withheld.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
bankrupcy, lawyer, legal advice switzerland, swiss inheritance law




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Another inheritance law question: Art 482 Civil Code meloncollie Finance/banking/taxation 9 18.01.2018 11:27
Inheritance Law Question Papri Family matters/health 18 16.11.2015 11:21
Clarification on Swiss Inheritance Law for dual citizens Charlotte60 Permits/visas/government 2 18.08.2014 17:48
Swiss inheritance law applied to American with dual Swiss citizenship bmjnyc Finance/banking/taxation 5 11.03.2012 12:58
Providing For Pets Under Swiss Inheritance Law meloncollie Pet corner 0 13.12.2009 11:50


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 19:08.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.1.0