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Old 21.01.2016, 00:20
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Swiss inheritance, with German Citizenship

Hi,

seeing if anyone can help or know a similar situation..

I am in line to inherit financial assets, but I have found out my relative is not a Swiss Citizen. Apparently he still retains his German citizenship, which I know has forced inheritance laws also...

reading on Swiss property and inheritance, is my relative going to be "forced" to Swiss inheritance law, since he has been living there for 50+ years, and owns numerous real estate in Switzerland???

one question is does he have a choice in that he lives in Switzerland ans has that can he "bypass" German law and go with "Swiss ruling" or???

any help or clarification would be great
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Old 21.01.2016, 00:30
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Re: Swiss inheritance, with German Citizenship

Depends what he wrote in his will. If, for example, he wrote something like "not under Swiss law".
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Old 21.01.2016, 00:37
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Re: Swiss inheritance, with German Citizenship

AFAIK a German, domiciled in Switzerland is only liable to German tax laws if he has income in Germany.

He will be liable to Swiss Inheritance tax laws and they suck pretty badly too..
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Old 21.01.2016, 01:04
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Re: Swiss inheritance, with German Citizenship

Maybe something here
https://www.ch.ch/en/inheritance/

In Swiss law, if the person does not make a will, then the spouse and children inherit everything, according to certain percentage distribution.
if the person makes a will, he/she can reduce the spouse's and the children's inheritance to a certain minimum percentage. To be disqualified from this minimum inheritance, the heirs must have done something very significantly bad (= this is very rare).

If a person has neither spouse nor children, then he/she is completely free to make a will leaving all and any of his/her estate to any person(s) or instituion(s) he/she chooses.
If a person has neither spouse nor children, but neglects to make a will, then the estate will be divided according to prescribed portions amongst the remaining relatives.

Whether or not the heirs have to pay tax, and how much, varies. www.ch.ch summarises: "The closer the relationship, the lower the tax rate." However "When real estate is passed on, property transfer tax usually has to be paid."

Here is a page that deals specifically with the position of a German citizen dying in Switzerland, or a Swiss citizen dying in Germany. As would be expected, the information is in German, so I hope you can get someone to read it for you: http://www.google.ch/url?sa=t&rct=j&...Lw1ivalQIV_2fg

The main point seems to be that there is a conflict between German and Swiss laws on inheritance. If I have read it correctly:
Germany regards the estate of a deceased German citizen as being governed by German law, even if the German citizen was not a resident of Germany.
On the other hand, Switzerland regards the estate of a resident of Switzerland, even a foreigner, as being governed by Swiss law.

If I understand this text, a German citizen living in Switzerland can specify, in his/her will, that Swiss law (or German law) shall be applicable to his/her estate.

Presumably, if your relative owned numerous pieces of real estate in Switzerland, he will have made a proper will. At least a part of the answer to your question will probably lie in that will.
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Old 21.01.2016, 07:47
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Re: Swiss inheritance, with German Citizenship

thank you guys...

I can have the pdf translated into English when I get my "German translator over" . haha

yeah, didn't want to be rude asking how the Will is setup... you know, just trying to figure out what's what as German law looks to be easier, Swiss looks looks to have a couple more exceptions, as up to 25% can be designated to whomever, and 25% goes to married spouse, where in Germany I believe it's divided between spouse and children....

I know his will is setup very well. A Swiss Lawyer contacted me a while back asking for all my information...


one other question, which is just a general, is any currency inheritance, can be locked into a "trust" or some stipulation in the will? whats the law regarding inheritance exactly how it is distributed?


thanks again guys, appreciate the help
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Old 21.01.2016, 08:45
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Re: Swiss inheritance, with German Citizenship

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thank you guys...

one other question, which is just a general, is any currency inheritance, can be locked into a "trust" or some stipulation in the will? whats the law regarding inheritance exactly how it is distributed?

thanks again guys, appreciate the help
Estate assets are normally passed to an Erbschaft, which is similar to a partnership of the heirs. The Erbschaft then determines when and how to distribute the assets following the Will while complying with Swiss inheritance law.

Generally, Switzerland does not have Trust law per se - this is an English-law concept - although Swiss law can recognize foreign trusts. As an observation, Swiss estates are sometimes transferred to Stiftungen (foundations).
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Old 21.01.2016, 09:07
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Re: Swiss inheritance, with German Citizenship

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AFAIK a German, domiciled in Switzerland is only liable to German tax laws if he has income in Germany.

He will be liable to Swiss Inheritance tax laws and they suck pretty badly too..
As Marton indicated, foreign citizens domiciled in Switzerland, can elect to have their estates governed by the law of the country of their citizenship (e.g., Germany) or the law of the country where they are resident, Switzerland, meaning cantonal law.

Swiss tax laws governing inheritance are at the cantonal (and community) level. Generally, these laws tax inheritance at the heir level and not at the estate level, and vary from 0% (or low rates) for immediate family to higher percentages for less closely related relatives and non-relatives. Canton Schwyz, incidentally, does not tax inheritance.

Wiki has a page on Swiss inheritance law which might be worth translating:

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erbsch...in_der_Schweiz
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Old 25.01.2016, 00:37
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Re: Swiss inheritance, with German Citizenship

^

wow what a great tax rate chart!! THANKS

he is in Arosa which I believe in is Graubunden, so that helps, but doesn't help that I am a US citizen, so major inheritance tax... bye bye money, and I mean BYE BYE then.

I was even looking to become another citizen somewhere to get taxed cheaper, as the tune of the tax is enough some people would gasp in horror...


thanks again guys... I am sure he will go Swiss law as there is a lot of family that would be excluded by German law so.. also the Swiss taxes is a joke and he's a business guy so I know he will go with what is cheaper in the end as it's a lot of money we are talking about
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Old 25.01.2016, 04:57
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Re: Swiss inheritance, with German Citizenship

If it's big enough, you can of course do a Mark Rich and live here (without paying Uncle Sam).
You can just never return, until a POTUS pardons you ;-)
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Old 25.01.2016, 08:03
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Re: Swiss inheritance, with German Citizenship

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^

wow what a great tax rate chart!! THANKS

he is in Arosa which I believe in is Graubunden, so that helps, but doesn't help that I am a US citizen, so major inheritance tax... bye bye money, and I mean BYE BYE then.

I was even looking to become another citizen somewhere to get taxed cheaper, as the tune of the tax is enough some people would gasp in horror...


thanks again guys... I am sure he will go Swiss law as there is a lot of family that would be excluded by German law so.. also the Swiss taxes is a joke and he's a business guy so I know he will go with what is cheaper in the end as it's a lot of money we are talking about
Generally, the IRS does not tax foreign estates that are inherited by US citizens. Some states tax heirs through inheritance tax, rather than estate tax. You might wish to improve your understanding of the difference between estate tax and inheritance tax:

"Foreign Property
Any foreign assets you inherit from a non-citizen or non-resident is not subject to estate tax; however, the foreign country may levy inheritance taxes on these assets."

"Inheritance Tax
As the heir, you do not have any obligation to file estate tax forms with the Internal Revenue Service, no matter where the inheritance is located. The estate pays the tax, not the heirs. The federal government does not levy taxes on inheritances, although a few states do, including Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Tennessee."

http://info.legalzoom.com/laws-conce...eas-21658.html
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Old 25.01.2016, 08:33
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Re: Swiss inheritance, with German Citizenship

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I am sure he will go Swiss law as there is a lot of family that would be excluded by German law so..
Doubtful, the laws should be pretty much the same.

Tom
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Old 27.01.2016, 07:57
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Re: Swiss inheritance, with German Citizenship

Tom,

nice to see you!


I was meaning by that, with Swiss as previously mentioned he is allowed 25% to go to whomever, and it's got a direct course, as relatives closer to him, live in Switzerland and run some other business for him, so it's funny as I am not close to him I would in theory get a larger share, but with the 25%, he will for sure split and make sure the grand kids get equal ( my father passed away so, from everything I read, inheritance passes down if a deceased "kid" passes)

this is why I say he will not pass up that opportunity, which was why I asked clarification since he is not a Swiss Citizen, as I would be "forced" more share, but anything is fine, given nothing I worked for that's coming to me......

what I understood looking at German law is Spouse and then kids.. that's it.. where Swiss law 25% can go to whomever ?????



-------------------------------------------------------

Mullholander

thanks for the info. I guess I read wrong.. well then I'm bloody rich as I thought 40% gone would still have been a good deal!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA

what my understanding of it was any assets you come into possession of gets taxed regardless when reading into foreign "assets"???

thanks for the time posting that! appreciate it
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Old 27.01.2016, 08:21
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Re: Swiss inheritance, with German Citizenship

Is your grandfather still alive???

What is your goal with these questions? To make sure you get all you can? To make sure these other relatives don't get anything?

If your grandfather has a company he can always give the company away by giving shares in the company, iirc.

If he has already passed, you should get in touch with the executer.
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Old 27.01.2016, 08:35
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Re: Swiss inheritance, with German Citizenship

I don't see what the point of this thread is.

According to OP the dude has already made a will and filed it with his lawyer. So he clearly hasn't applied to you for advice on the difference between Swiss and German inheritance law. The only reason I can see for you to want to know is to speculate on how much you're likely to get. Which is not only in bad taste, it's bad financial planning.

Ever heard the expression "don't count your chickens before they're hatched"? You have no guarantee - none - that your relative will leave any of you any money at all when he dies. He could be deep in debt you don't know anything about, he could have a long, gradual decline where health care eats all his savings, he could also just start to enjoy life a bit more: you know, first-class GA, toast with gold-sprinkled caviar, that sort of thing.

So you can't possibly make any financial plans for the future based on the assumption that you will receive an inheritance of >XX francs, no matter what regime you think that inheritance is likely to be taxed under. whatever% of zero is still zero.

If you're involved enough in his financial affairs that you really do have an accurate idea of how much his estate is worth (even to +/-10%) then you're probably close enough to ask him about the other details, which country's inheritance law he has specified etc. etc.

If not then all this speculation about how much money there might be, and how much of that you might get, and in what form, and subject to what taxes, is pretty pointless. (And, like I said, in bad taste - but maybe that's just me.)
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Old 27.01.2016, 09:19
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Re: Swiss inheritance, with German Citizenship

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If your grandfather has a company he can always give the company away by giving shares in the company, iirc.
Not within the last ten years of his life.

Tom
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Old 27.01.2016, 11:58
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Re: Swiss inheritance, with German Citizenship

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Not within the last ten years of his life.

Tom

If you can predict that I'd be worried....
Thought The OPs questions do make me wonder. Like, does the grandfather know the kid is already spending his inheritance.
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Old 27.01.2016, 12:26
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Re: Swiss inheritance, with German Citizenship

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Not within the last ten years of his life.

Tom
If he gave them to a hooker, the chance of getting any money back is 0.

TBH I really don't agree with forced inheritance, it gives a sense of entitlement & the kids are just waiting for their parents to die.
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Old 27.01.2016, 13:00
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Re: Swiss inheritance, with German Citizenship

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I don't see what the point of this thread is.

Comparing German vs. Swiss inhertiance law?

Let us look a bit closer to the situation, which looks a bit like this (it is different, but shows the most important points and some more):
Attachment 109793

Rounds, are boys, triangles are girls. The dark shaded boy is our OP.
Person with one strike deceased before our testator (marked by two strikes) made his last breath. Horizontal lines mark marriages (dashed one previous marriages), downward lines offsprings.

Persons with number would inherit if their is no will. Swiss and German law. They are also the ones entitled to a part of the estate even if their is a will which decides otherwise. They have to go to court to get their share.

According to Swiss law, they would inherit of the total estate:
The spouse
1: 1/2
The offsprings (Total 1/2):
2: 1/2 of 1/2 = 1/4
3: 1/3 of 1/2 of 1/2 = 1/12
4: 1/3 of 1/2 of 1/2 = 1/12
5: 1/2 of 1/3 of 1/2 of 1/2 = 1/24
6: 1/2 of 1/3 of 1/2 of 1/2 = 1/24

If there is a will then, and he wants to ditribute as much to other persons as he can without risking that one of the heirs gets upset and will go to court: He can take away 1/2 from what the spuse gets w/o a will (means she will get 1/4) and 1/4 from what the offsprings get w/o a will.

For German law it is more complicated, as the definition of what is part of the estate is not the same as it is in Swiss law.

In Swiss law the martial regime is accounted first, then all of the reminder is part of the estate.

In German law the martial regime defines how much the spouse gets, and how much is her minimum share. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gesetz...gattenerbrecht

Hmm... gets complicated tow compare the twoes, in case of default marriage regime and if one is the bread giver and the other the stay at home one the differences Swiss vs. German are quite big.
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Last edited by aSwissInTheUS; 28.01.2016 at 11:31.
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Old 27.01.2016, 22:02
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Re: Swiss inheritance, with German Citizenship

^ can't see the attachment but thanks for posting, glad to have more info for anyone looking.

looks like this is complicated and no direct answer unless the will was present, theories will remain..

but this goes back to me with going under German law, He would never do it given the tax percentage compared to the place he is in in Switzerland.. I know he has tactics on saving as much money as he can, as it's no accident he ended up in one of the cantons with the lowest tax percentage, and I know this passed off onto my dad as he lived in a place where he was taxed the lowest, as he helped run his business for a period of time.. and he talked about hating taxes a lot!

I'm also assuming there is no accident he is not a Swiss citizen, which I know is only reason of some advantage of not becoming a Swiss citizen.. logically think also, why would someone live in a Country for so long and then not become a "part of them"... business tactic is really all I can think as I'm shocked he is not Swiss Citizen as he's lived there most his life..

now something you mention which I was wondering as the spouse is perfectly fine, he most likely will give her percentage lower as she honestly might pass away before him, as they are near the same age, so she doesn't need much to live off of, and yes to not upset anyone would make a way to try to split as evenly as possible for sure..

thank you everyone for putting input into this.. it's better to bounce ideas back and forth then to talk to someone, as we see,there is a lot of speculation and ways it could go, I have a ballpark idea, and more clarification that came out of this for sure.. thank you all!!!!
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Old 27.01.2016, 22:12
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Re: Swiss inheritance, with German Citizenship

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now something you mention which I was wondering as the spouse is perfectly fine, he most likely will give her percentage lower as she honestly might pass away before him, as they are near the same age, so she doesn't need much to live off of, and yes to not upset anyone would make a way to try to split as evenly as possible for sure..
Isn´t that a tiny bit presumptious? She doesn´t need much to live off?
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