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Old 01.05.2019, 23:43
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Wills/inheritance UK/CH

Does anyone have any ideas about what happens in the event of death in Switzerland for a UK national with assets abroad. Does the Swiss system take over everything or is it split? Would one need UK and Swiss wills? Would a UK will (located in the UK) even be valid? Could it be worth deregistering from Switzerland and returning to the UK?

I read something about "compulsory heirs" in Switzerland so you have to, or least had to, leave part of the estate to e.g. parents or spouse.


Any links or info would be appreciated.


Any idea where to source a Vorsorge set or guide to preparing a will?
Does he state take care of disposal if no funeral arrangements are made?



PS I thought about calling the thread "prepare for the end" or "Unluckier than the unluckiest expat in Switzerland".
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Old 02.05.2019, 07:49
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Re: Wills/inheritance UK/CH

Info here

https://www.ch.ch/en/death/

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

I believe you can designate whether your will is executed under UK or Swiss law, but not 100% sure on that.
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Old 02.05.2019, 09:10
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Re: Wills/inheritance UK/CH

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I believe you can designate whether your will is executed under UK or Swiss law, but not 100% sure on that.
In Baselland it certainly is.

Swiss tax laws are applied.
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Old 02.05.2019, 09:24
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Re: Wills/inheritance UK/CH

AFAIK by default Swiss law will be applied to all deaths of Swiss residents. However this can be overriden by testament (or an "Erbvertrag" if that exists in the foreign country) in the cases where the testator has a choice.

AFAIK whether you have a choice is ruled by the following:
- you can't chose if you're Swiss and Swiss resident (not even for multinationals)
- you can chose if you're Swiss and abroad. However that also depends on the foreign law, if the foreign law says that foreign law rules unconditionally then Switzerland will accept that
- you can chose if you're a non-Swiss resident in Switzerland, provided your country's law or international agreement gives you that option

For instance, if a German with residency in Switzerland dies, Swiss law applies (which in turn gives the testator the right to chose). However if an Italian citizen resident in Switzerland dies, Italian law applies due to some bilateral treaty from 1868 (not a typo).
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Old 02.05.2019, 09:45
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Re: Wills/inheritance UK/CH

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if an Italian citizen resident in Switzerland dies, Italian law applies due to some bilateral treaty from 1868 (not a typo).
Which makes no difference, as Italian inheritance law is the same as Swiss inheritance law (BTDT).

Tom
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Old 02.05.2019, 10:35
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Re: Wills/inheritance UK/CH

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In Baselland it certainly is.

Swiss tax laws are applied.
A UK IHT liability will exist in many cases where world wide assets exceed 325,000
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Old 02.05.2019, 10:43
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Re: Wills/inheritance UK/CH

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Which makes no difference, as Italian inheritance law is the same as Swiss inheritance law (BTDT).

Tom
I'm pretty sure they differ. For instance, the effect of the number of children when one spouse dies.
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Old 02.05.2019, 11:18
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Re: Wills/inheritance UK/CH

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I'm pretty sure they differ. For instance, the effect of the number of children when one spouse dies.
Italy has the same forced inheritance rules as here.

Tom
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Old 02.05.2019, 11:43
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Re: Wills/inheritance UK/CH

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Italy has the same forced inheritance rules as here.

Tom
No, they are different in who can claim a statutory entitlement, how much they can claim, their right as a heir if they claim, and if a statutory heir can forgo their statutory entitlement by contract while the testator is still alive.

See Art. 536 and 537 Codice Civile Italia vs. Art. 462 and 471 Codice Civile Svizzera. Also IT-Art. 557 Abs. 2 vs CH-Art. 495

I leave it as an exercise to find, read, and understand both Civil Codes.

In both cases a statutory entitlement must be claimed in court. If a potential heir by law does not claim its entitlement the the testament will be executed as is.
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Old 02.05.2019, 12:15
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Re: Wills/inheritance UK/CH

If your assets are fairly substantial, or you have UK property, then I'd strongly advise talking to a lawyer. Withers are UK lawyers in Switzerland and I'm sure there are others. No one solution can fit all and while it may cost a thousand or two, it will be well worth it in the end (so to speak ).

One small caveat, if you're hiding something from HMRC (and I'm not for a moment suggesting you are), then do not go to a UK lawyer, even in Switzerland, as they have a duty to report. In that case use a Swiss lawyer.
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Old 02.05.2019, 14:58
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Re: Wills/inheritance UK/CH

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Italy has the same forced inheritance rules as here.

Tom
Italy doesn't know what's called "Erbvertrag" here, a contract (typically among the spouses) that excludes everybody else for the time being.

Under Italian law, if one spouse dies, the surviving spouse's share depends on the number of children they have together. Likewise their mandatory shares, they differ depending on the number of children. This principle, that the number of heirs in a given "branch" (lineage?) affects what other branches get, applies in other constellations as well. AFAIK none of that applies to CH. And it seems the mandatory shares themselves differ substantially.
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Old 02.05.2019, 17:33
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Re: Wills/inheritance UK/CH

If you are non-Swiss you can write your Will asking that your national law apply. If you don't have a will, or include this provision then Swiss law will apply.

If you are Swiss then Swiss law applies, regardless of what you put in your will.
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Old 02.05.2019, 17:43
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Re: Wills/inheritance UK/CH

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Italy doesn't know what's called "Erbvertrag" here, a contract (typically among the spouses) that excludes everybody else for the time being..
If you wish to exclude a statutory heir than they must be part of the contract and consent to the exclusion.

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If you are Swiss then Swiss law applies, regardless of what you put in your will.
Not fully correct. Swiss law says that unless a heir or an excluded heir challenges the will in court it should be as it is.
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Old 02.05.2019, 23:26
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Re: Wills/inheritance UK/CH

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If you wish to exclude a statutory heir than they must be part of the contract and consent to the exclusion.
You don't exclude anyone (per se). As such nobody but the spouses are (or need to be) party to the contract.

In its most simple (and intended) constellation an Ehe- und Erbvertrag merely postpones the distribution of the assets until after the 2nd spouse has died. Whereas a new marriage can complicate matters (possibly immensely, especially if the 2nd marriage bears children and/or the spouse from the 1st marriage dies first) but the Ehe- und Erbvertrag can contain clauses to prevent them.
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Old 03.05.2019, 08:06
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Re: Wills/inheritance UK/CH

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A UK IHT liability will exist in many cases where world wide assets exceed 325,000
Well, certainly some cases.

UK inheritance tax may be due on UK assets that go to heirs. (I can't figure out how this goes with the IHT threshold).

The whole estate is taxable (above IHT threshold) if the deceased lived anywhere in the United Kingdom for 17 of the previous 20 years, or had a permanent home in the UK in the 3 years immediately before death.

https://www.gov.uk/inheritance-tax/w...de-the-uk-dies

Dual taxation treaties apply.
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Old 03.05.2019, 10:19
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Re: Wills/inheritance UK/CH

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You don't exclude anyone (per se). As such nobody but the spouses are (or need to be) party to the contract.

In its most simple (and intended) constellation an Ehe- und Erbvertrag merely postpones the distribution of the assets until after the 2nd spouse has died.
You mean a contract or will with Vorerbe (pre heir) and Nacherebe (final heir/remainderman)? Yes, this does not exist in the Italian Civil Code.
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Old 03.05.2019, 13:55
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Re: Wills/inheritance UK/CH

what if you have dual citizenship UK/Swiss and have properites in both? main residence is CH...
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Old 04.05.2019, 16:17
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Re: Wills/inheritance UK/CH

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what if you have dual citizenship UK/Swiss and have properites in both? main residence is CH...
Depends on the value of your estate and where your domicile is at time of death (see my post above).

If you are Swiss domiciled and Swiss, then Swiss inheritance law applies.
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Old 04.05.2019, 16:39
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Re: Wills/inheritance UK/CH

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Depends on the value of your estate and where your domicile is at time of death (see my post above).

If you are Swiss domiciled and Swiss, then Swiss inheritance law applies.
UK IHT will be liable on any UK assets regardless of domicile. A reason to invest in Fundsmith Luxembourg fund for anyone who otherwise has no IHT liability.

A point to note if you are not UK domiciled then the unlimited exemption to a spouse does not apply.
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Old 04.05.2019, 19:46
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Re: Wills/inheritance UK/CH

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A point to note if you are not UK domiciled then the unlimited exemption to a spouse does not apply.
Good to know.

I'm glad I have no UK assets then!
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