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Federal government in Switzerland looks to relax forced heirship regime

Foreign residents living in Switzerland may choose whether Swiss law or the law of their country of origin applies to their estate when they die. If no will is left expressing their preference, Swiss law will apply.

Swiss inheritance law includes ‘reserved heirship’ rules. This means that certain relative cannot be disinherited – even by a will.

Currently, the statutory entitlement for children inheriting is 75 per cent of the estate. The Swiss government has requested that the country’s parliament consider amending federal succession law by reducing this entitlement to 50 per cent and removing the parents’ statutory entitlement entirely.

The Swiss federal government has also proposed that a surviving spouse (or civil partner) will not be not be entitled to a share of the deceased’s estate if divorce proceedings have been issued. Also, that the deceased’s cohabitant will be able to claim maintenance from the estate.

For all international and cross-border tax issues, please contact Graeme Perry for more information.