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Old 05.08.2010, 12:17
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Wills - Swiss or British Jurisprudence?

I am a British citizen, and have lived in Switzerland for several years, where I intend to stay. I would like to know if it is possible for British jurisprudence to be applied when administering a Will, or must Swiss law apply? I seem to recall reading something about this, but am not totally certain what the legal position is. I have written to the British Consul asking for clarification, but whilst awaiting their reply, wonder if anyone here has had any experience in this domain. Thanks in advance!
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Old 05.08.2010, 12:37
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Re: Wills - Swiss or British Jurisprudence?

There you go:
http://www.kendris.com/files/element...6639256851.pdf
III. Ein Ausländer in der Schweiz bestellt einen Vollstrecker

nach ausländischem Recht
a) Beispiel: Ein in der Schweiz wohnhafter Engländer bestellt in seinem Testament
einen executor nach seinem Heimatrecht; dieser muss in der Schweiz für den
Nachlass eine Forderung geltend machen.
b) Anwendbares Recht: Das Bundesgericht hat die Wahl des englischen
Rechts, welches nicht selten wegen der fehlenden Pflichtteile10 gewählt wird, ausdrücklich
gebilligt, sie verstösst insbesondere nicht gegen den ordre public.11 Wenn
der Erblasser zur Vollstreckung seines gesamten Nachlasses einen executor englischen
Rechts bestellt hat, wie wird dieser in der Schweiz beurteilt (qualifiziert)?12

Quick translation: The Federal Council has explicitly accepted English law (conerning wills), despite the absence of statutory shares. So yes, you can write a will under English law. Got a naughty son ?
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Old 05.08.2010, 19:06
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Re: Wills - Swiss or British Jurisprudence?

Many thanks Simon!
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Old 05.08.2010, 19:18
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Re: Wills - Swiss or British Jurisprudence?

Yup. I looked into this. Mine is under English law.
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Old 05.08.2010, 19:22
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Re: Wills - Swiss or British Jurisprudence?

Thank you also Nev. Did you have your Will written up in Vaud may I ask?
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Old 05.08.2010, 19:32
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Re: Wills - Swiss or British Jurisprudence?

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Thank you also Nev. Did you have your Will written up in Vaud may I ask?
Yes. I used an international law firm in Lausanne who had it drafted by one of their English Law associates.
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Old 05.08.2010, 20:04
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Re: Wills - Swiss or British Jurisprudence?

Thank you once again Nev.
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Old 05.08.2010, 20:11
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Re: Wills - Swiss or British Jurisprudence?

Do bear in mind that Swiss inheritance tax laws still apply.
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Old 05.08.2010, 20:14
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Re: Wills - Swiss or British Jurisprudence?

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Do bear in mind that Swiss inheritance tax laws still apply.
As will UK IHT if you're still UK domiciled at the time of death. You will be eligible for double tax relief however.
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Old 05.08.2010, 20:59
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Re: Wills - Swiss or British Jurisprudence?

Just a general message: if you have an English will, then yes it will take precedence... BUT if you don't have one, then the default is Swiss, so don't assume that if you don't have anything in place your estate can choose to be divided up under UK law, AFAIK it cannot.

So, as they say, don't delay, get one today!
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Old 05.08.2010, 22:43
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Re: Wills - Swiss or British Jurisprudence?

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I am a British citizen, and have lived in Switzerland for several years, where I intend to stay. I would like to know if it is possible for British jurisprudence to be applied when administering a Will, or must Swiss law apply? I seem to recall reading something about this, but am not totally certain what the legal position is. I have written to the British Consul asking for clarification, but whilst awaiting their reply, wonder if anyone here has had any experience in this domain. Thanks in advance!
You mean jurisdiction, jurisprudence is slightly different?

Pedantic possibly but just trying to help the search engine for future queries...
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Old 15.09.2010, 18:30
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Re: Wills - Swiss or British Jurisprudence?

I consulted a lawyer today regarding the drawing-up of a Will according to English (not British) law. Amongst other things, I was informed that the Will would not have to be registered. Having lived in Switzerland for several years, where I have grown accustomed to everything being "controlled" - I use the term loosely! - I am amazed that this is the case. Apart from any other considerations, if the Will is not registered with some official body, who knows it exists and who will ensure that the wishes of the deceased will be implemented! Moreover, does a Will written in a language other than French, German or Italian, need to be "officially" translated? (This brings back memories of when I married my Dutch husband. All papers appertaining to our marriage had to be translated into one of the three official Swiss languages - but when my husband submitted his papers, all (logically) written in Dutch - no-one in the Geneva Cantonal Translation Department had a knowledge of Dutch! The papers were eventually translated by a Translator working at the UN, but don't tell anyone!).

Any assistance on this matter will be truly, truly appreciated!
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Old 15.09.2010, 19:50
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Re: Wills - Swiss or British Jurisprudence?

There is an official body where you can register your will, if you want, however it is not obligatory. Ask any notary for the address.

Basicaly under Swiss law you have to leave a certain amount to your partner, 2/8th i believe, 3/8 to be divided amongs the kids and the remaining 3/8ths to whoever you want including partner/kids or split between. If there is no partner/kids youz can leave to whoever you want.

To get around this, before you pop your clogs, get everything in liquid form, ie cash and distribute.

Under UK law you are free to leave to whomever you wish.
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Old 15.09.2010, 20:22
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Re: Wills - Swiss or British Jurisprudence?

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Under UK law you are free to leave to whomever you wish.
Err, no. What is this strange, mythical "UK law" thing you talk of?

Under Scottish Law, whatever the will says, a surviving husband or wife or children can claim legal rights to a proportion of the "moveable estate" (i.e. money, shares, cars, furniture and jewellery.

So if one pops ones clogs between liquidating to cash and distributing it as one intended, as you advise, it could potentially have exactly the opposite outcome from what one intended

Mechanisms such as trusts can sometimes be used to ensure that these kind of gaps don't happen, and to sidestep multi-jurisdictional problems...

Therefore, as with so many things, OP, the best advice one can receive is to i) know what one wants to achieve, and then ii) consult a professional who can advise then deliver accordingly.
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Old 15.09.2010, 21:01
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Re: Wills - Swiss or British Jurisprudence?

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Err, no. What is this strange, mythical "UK law" thing you talk of?

This is what my notary explained to me, under UK law you can leave your wordly goods to who ever you want, providing the will is in accordance, 2 witnesses and hand written and you were in a fit state of mind when written.

So if one pops ones clogs between liquidating to cash and distributing it as one intended, as you advise, it could potentially have exactly the opposite outcome from what one intended
Careful planning in indeed required
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Old 15.09.2010, 21:01
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Re: Wills - Swiss or British Jurisprudence?

Guys, the OP has already said she's consulted a professional and is considering a Will under English Law.
Merrylegs, to answer your questions:
1. The advice you got was correct. A Will under English Law doesn't have to be registered.
2. In your Will you should have appointed Executors. You should tell the Executors where your Will is located. You should also tell someone in your family or a close friend.
3. It's your responsibility to keep your Will in a safe place. You could lodge it with the lawyers. A lot of people do. But you could just as easily put it in a bank safety box or a safe at home or amongst your personal effects at home. If you lodge with a third party, get a receipt.
4. It's your Executors' job to implement the wishes expressed in your Will. If you've appointed English speaking Execuotrs then your Will won't need to be translated.
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Old 19.09.2011, 12:42
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Re: Wills - Swiss or British Jurisprudence?

Hello I'm brand new to this forum and I am not even sure whether I am doing this correctly. Re. Wills, for swiss holiday homes - i.e. secondary residence, do we need to have separate swiss wills or will the propery come under our UK wills. Can anybody give me a simply answer before I go to my Swiss notaire. Thanks so much everyone.
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Old 19.09.2011, 15:10
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Re: Wills - Swiss or British Jurisprudence?

[QUOTE=Nev;945841]Guys, the OP has already said she's consulted a professional and is considering a Will under English Law.
Merrylegs, to answer your questions:
1. The advice you got was correct. A Will under English Law doesn't have to be registered.
2. In your Will you should have appointed Executors. You should tell the Executors where your Will is located. You should also tell someone in your family or a close friend.
3. It's your responsibility to keep your Will in a safe place. You could lodge it with the lawyers. A lot of people do. But you could just as easily put it in a bank safety box or a safe at home or amongst your personal effects at home. If you lodge with a third party, get a receipt.
4. It's your Executors' job to implement the wishes expressed in your Will. If you've appointed English speaking Execuotrs then your Will won't need to be translated.[/QUOTE)

Nev, thank you for your reply dated 15th September 2010, which I have just read! Point No 4 of your post was very interesting - I was not aware of this, and thought that an official translation would be required.
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