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Old 02.05.2020, 12:39
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Inheritance / property transfer question

Hi, I hope this is the right forum group to ask this question! My wife (Swiss) is one of 3 children. Her father owns a couple of properties in Switzerland, one of which is an income generating lodge, run by his one son. Can the father simply transfer the property to said son, and ignore his other two children, or does inheritance law apply in this situation? Unfortunately we might see trouble on the horizon...
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Old 02.05.2020, 12:45
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Re: Inheritance / property transfer question

Is he dead?

Tom
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Old 02.05.2020, 12:47
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Hi, I hope this is the right forum group to ask this question! My wife (Swiss) is one of 3 children. Her father owns a couple of properties in Switzerland, one of which is an income generating lodge, run by his one son. Can the father simply transfer the property to said son, and ignore his other two children, or does inheritance law apply in this situation? Unfortunately we might see trouble on the horizon...
Your sister is entitled to 25% of the heritage, if her dad wants to specify a specific property to one of the kids he is free to do so as long as the others get their percentage of the total value of the heritage, and her dad is also free to give 25% of the total heritage to whomever he pleases, could be me, could be her brother.

If the dad while still alive wants to give a specific property to one of the kids he is free to do so, if he would die within a certain time it will still be included in the heritage.
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Old 02.05.2020, 15:24
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Re: Inheritance / property transfer question

Thanks for this explanation. So basically if the father wants to give a property to a son (eg a value of 80% of all the properties) he is free to do so?
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Old 02.05.2020, 16:03
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Thanks for this explanation. So basically if the father wants to give a property to a son (eg a value of 80% of all the properties) he is free to do so?
Yes he is.

Two important things however:

If your dad chooses to have as extra condition in writing that the value of this gift should be taken along in the heritage it will be part of the heritage later no matter how long ago it would be.

And Switzerland has a law that gifts done in the last 5 yrs of life have to be brought back into the heritage if they hurt the minimum legal part of the heritage of other persons. Now by the numbers you give this might be something to remember, if you insist on a part of it.
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Old 02.05.2020, 16:29
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Re: Inheritance / property transfer question

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Yes he is...
What if the father made the son a co-owner of the property now? Is that still a gift? Is there a right of survivorship for co-owners in Switzerland?

For example, in the U.S. you can exclude heirs by making the person you favor a co-owner with right of survivorship. Upon the death of the first person, the survivor gets the property 100% and the heirs are out of luck.
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Old 02.05.2020, 17:25
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What if the father made the son a co-owner of the property now? Is that still a gift? Is there a right of survivorship for co-owners in Switzerland?

For example, in the U.S. you can exclude heirs by making the person you favor a co-owner with right of survivorship. Upon the death of the first person, the survivor gets the property 100% and the heirs are out of luck.
Let's say dad makes the son 10% owner, than 90% of the company still belongs to the heritage, does the son not have enough money to buy the rest out than either they start sharing ownership or sell the company to pay out everybody.

And yes giving something to somebody free of charge is a gift, wether it be a part in a company or an ice-cream.
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Old 07.05.2020, 11:42
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Re: Inheritance / property transfer question

Gifts can be contested for five years but that doesn't mean that's all there is.

Like "Erbvorbezug" (early transfer of a part of the heritance) the lookback period for gifts to heirs with a mandatory share is unlimited, and if mandatory shares have been violated they need to be made good for. In OP's case that probably means anything above 50% is problematic, even more so gifting real estate (or selling it below value as the difference between price and value is effectively a gift).
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Old 07.05.2020, 11:49
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Gifts can be contested for five years but that doesn't mean that's all there is.

Like "Erbvorbezug" (early transfer of a part of the heritance) the lookback period for gifts to heirs with a mandatory share is unlimited, and if mandatory shares have been violated they need to be made good for. In OP's case that probably means anything above 50% is problematic, even more so gifting real estate (or selling it below value as the difference between price and value is effectively a gift).
The lookback period for gifts is 5 yrs and not unlimited.
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Old 07.05.2020, 14:32
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Re: Inheritance / property transfer question

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The lookback period for gifts is 5 yrs and not unlimited.
Your source?
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Old 07.05.2020, 15:02
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Your source?
I'll spare us all the German links. There is indeed the legal difference between people with or without a mandatory share of the heritage.

With = Unlimited.
Without = 5 yrs.

However parents have the option to exclude a gift from being part of the heritage by putting such properly in writing.

Surely OP could bring such to court and then as usual the outcome is depending on the exact circumstances.

If you still think this is wrong feel free to prove me wrong, and if so I'll give you and OP a nice big sorry.
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Old 07.05.2020, 16:45
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Re: Inheritance / property transfer question

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Hi, I hope this is the right forum group to ask this question! My wife (Swiss) is one of 3 children. Her father owns a couple of properties in Switzerland, one of which is an income generating lodge, run by his one son. Can the father simply transfer the property to said son, and ignore his other two children, or does inheritance law apply in this situation? Unfortunately we might see trouble on the horizon...
You don't say if the father has a wife? If so the wife gets half and the 3 children the remainder between them.

If the father gives the indefinite right to live in the property, with or without transferring a share, and this is registered with the Cadaster, then on the death of the father the heirs are entitled to their share but cannot force a sale to get it. They are also then entitled to a share of the income, but also have to pay their share of the costs and any renovations.

As the one son is running the property, I'd imagine the father wants to reward him for his work, hence wanting to gift it to him. But as always in these circumstances, it's best to get everyone's agreement in advance while the father is still alive and have a lawyer draw up a deed.
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Old 08.05.2020, 13:38
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Re: Inheritance / property transfer question

That reminds one of the Odell v Caron case in France (easily found in English translation on Google). Jean-Claude Caron, Leslie’s father, set up New York trusts and will to avoid French forced heirship. The French court reapportioned French assets to enforce the French rule. Not the case here but it could be. We had a Swiss friend who sold Swiss property and applied the proceeds unequally as part of a U.S. estate plan, including funding a U.K. vulnerable person (special-needs) trust for one of many grandchildren. I think his worry was more the extraterritorial application of 40% British IHT than any Swiss intervention.
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