- Before the case of succession: Creation of testaments / contracts of succession
1. Consequences of a missing or insufficient testament
Someone who does not lay down his clear and effective last will via testament or contract of succession must be aware, that the succession after his death will be exclusively tied to the statutory regulations; these regulations are, however, unsuitable in the majority of cases, as the law does not show any consideration for individual ideas and family or asset circumstances.
Testaments created by legal laymen are often ambiguous, partly even invalid. In such cases a dispute among the surviving dependents is inevitable. It is obvious that different interpretations of the alleged intended will can lead to embittered disputes; this can be seen in our daily practice.
Furthermore, the statutory order of succession rarely ensures a useful and in particular tax-avoiding transfer of assets.
Therefore, it is highly recommended to draw up the last – binding, clear and effective – will with professional and experienced legal advice.
2. Legal Scope
We advise you in detail, inform you of the consequences under civil and tax law regarding your ideas and present reasonable solutions.
We support you in laying down effective and clear regulations, which therefore avoid disputes. With our experience we take the implications of the rights to a compulsory portion into consideration as well as for example specialities with patchwork families and mixed-national marriages (also in the scope of the European Regulation on Succession Matters), participations in companies located overseas or tax-entangled assets.
We also always consider (upon request together with your tax advisors) the tax-related consequences.
3. Anticipated succession
For tax saving reasons and in order to avoid a dispute it is, as a rule, better to carry out an assignment of the assets while you are still alive already by way of the so-called “anticipated succession“ by taking the testator’s interests in provisions into consideration. The tax consequences are only certainly known and can therefore be planned while the testator is still alive.
4. Establishment of foundations
We also advise and accompany you with the establishment of a foundation. Motivation for the establishment of a foundation is the decision of the founder to mostly show a commitment to a non-profit making purpose in the long-term. For this purpose, he will transfer his assets into a foundation while he is still alive or by a disposition mortis causa. A foundation can however also serve the interests of a group of persons determined by the founder (family foundation) instead of a non-profit making purpose.
- After the case of succession: Settlement of disputes / dealing with legal consequences
1. Acceptance and rejection of inheritances
Each person appointed as an heir can decide at his own will whether he rejects the inheritance. A rejection can however only be carried out within the deadlines stipulated by law, otherwise the inheritance shall be deemed as accepted.
The rejection of the inheritance can also be a means of arrangement in order to exert an influence on the consequences under inheritance tax and civil law (tactical rejection of inheritance).
A rejection of inheritance can principally only be carried out within a deadline of six weeks. If the testator had his last place of residence overseas or if the heir was overseas at the start of the deadline, the deadline for rejection is six months instead of six weeks.
2. Clarification of the succession
Misleading, unclear or incomplete last wills as well as doubts about the testamentary capacity of the testator will - as a rule - lead to a disputes between the potential heirs.
We represent you with the necessary support in disputes regarding the succession, both out-of-court, as well as in any necessary court proceedings.
3. Claims under inheritance law
If it has been determined who has become an heir, claims can be asserted under inheritance law. We will advise and represent you with the assertion or defence of these painful claims.
4. Succession management
A case of succession does not necessarily have to end in a dispute. In fact, numerous legal and organisational questions are raised after a succession matter occurs. We support you among others with
- the evaluation, validation and registry of the inheritance,
- the preparation of the inheritance tax return,
- the correction of the land register,
- the preparation and implementation of disputes amongst communities of heirs.
5. Inheritance tax
Passing away is subject to inheritance tax.
Besides personal allowances (e.g. for spouses and children) there are numerous tax exemptions and deductions for certain cases, partly bound to deadlines or conditions.
We will be pleased to inform you, based on your specific individual case, show alternative actions to you and accompany you with the preparation of the inheritance tax return.
Should this become necessary, we will represent you towards the tax authorities in or before the finance courts.