Available in other languages: français
Modernisation of Swiss inheritance law: greater freedom for the testator
Available in other languages: français
The Federal Council has just adopted a message addressed to Parliament with the aim of adapting inheritance law to the evolution of society.
The proposed amendments include reducing the statutory entitlement (“réserve légale”) of the descendants, abolishing the statutory entitlement of the parents, and thus increasing the testator’s freedom to dispose of his assets, creating an "assistance claim" in favour of the life partner and changes to the calculation of the estate.
Firstly, the Federal Council proposes to reduce the statutory entitlement of the descendants (from three quarters to half their right of succession) and to abolish the parents’ statutory entitlement. The testator will thus be able to favour people of his choice more and will benefit from greater flexibility in the transfer of family businesses.
Secondly, in the event of death before the end of the divorce proceedings or proceedings for the dissolution of the registered partnership, the survivor will, in principle, lose his status as heir entitled to a compulsory share. The Federal Council thus intends to avoid the temptation to drag out the procedure.
Improved status of the surviving spouse or registered partner and life partner
On the one hand, the project plans to increase the right to dispose (“quotité disponible”) where there is a usufruct in favour of the surviving spouse or registered partner from one quarter of the estate to half of the estate. The testator will thus be able to favour his surviving spouse or registered partner more by granting him half of the estate in full ownership and the usufruct on the other half.
On the other hand, an "assistance claim" will be possible, under certain conditions, in favour of the person who was in fact living with the deceased as a couple (life partner). It will not be possible to exclude this claim against the estate by will or by an agreement after the death; therefore, the life partner will have priority over the heirs entitled to a compulsory share (their statutory entitlement being calculated after deducting the assistance debt).
Clarifications regarding the calculation of the estate
In the case of the attribution of an additional share of the profit to the surviving spouse or registered partner by marriage contract or assets agreement, this attribution must be qualified as an inter vivos gift (and not as a testamentary disposition) and will have to be included in the calculation mass of the statutory entitlement (which will thus increase).
Private pension plans (pillar 3a) do not form part of the estate but may be reduced if the heirs entitled to a compulsory share do not receive their statutory entitlement.
What remains unchanged
The statutory entitlement of the surviving spouse and registered partner will be maintained at half of their succession right and will thus be equal to that of the descendants.
The statutory heirs remain the same and their inheritance shares will not change.
As a consequence, in the absence of testamentary dispositions, the division of the deceased's estate will be identical as today’s (except in the case of a claim for assistance for the life partner).
Swiss inheritance law has hardly undergone any changes since its entry into force in 1912. The Federal Council's proposals, which will be the subject of parliamentary deliberations in the near future and should come into force in 2020, or even in the course of 2019, aim to adapt inheritance law to modern society and other legislative innovations such as the possibility, from 1 January 2018, of adopting the child of one’s registered partner. This is a first step in this direction, which should be followed in the medium term by the adaptation of Swiss inheritance law to the digital reality.
Charles Russell Speechlys can advise you on your wealth and estate planning and assist you in drafting your testamentary dispositions.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Grégoire Uldry.
This article was written by Grégoire Uldry, Christophe Levet and Amelia Moore. For more information please contact Grégoire on +41 (0)22 591 18 80 / Grégoire.email@example.com, Christophe on +41 (0)22 591 18 56 / Christophe.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charity Training: Digital Transformation in the Charity Sector (Session 2)
We would be delighted if you could join us for the second session in our new series of bite-size webinars for charities.
Recent Trends In Firewall Legislation: BVI, Bermuda And Gibraltar
Charles Russell Speechlys promotes five to Partner
The promotions are effective 1 May 2021 and are accompanied by one Legal Director and 15 Senior Associate promotions.
Charles Russell Speechlys boosts private wealth offering with the hire of an international tax team
Robert Reymond will be joined at the firm by Leigh Nicoll, Emma Tyrrell and Oliver Cooper.
eprivateclient and Citywealth report on the hire of a new international tax team led by Robert Reymond
The firm strengthened its international wealth structuring capabilities with the hire of an international tax team led by Robert Reymond.
Charity Training Webinar Series: Brand Protection (Session 1)
We would be delighted if you could join us for the first in our new series of bite-size webinars for charities.
Impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on arrangements for children of international families
The Lugano convention – the journey continues
The UK’s departure from the European Union has had the effect of leaving the UK outside of the Lugano Convention of 2007.
Asian Legal Business, Hubbis and eprivateclient report on the firm's expansion in Hong Kong
The firm's Hong Kong office continues to expand with the relocation of Real Estate Partner Simon Green to lead the firm’s focus in Asia.
Charles Russell Speechlys advises Fudco Partnership on sale to Exponent-backed Vibrant Foods
Fudco is a family-owned business selling South Asian ethnic foods in UK and Europe.
Electrical safety standards in the private rented sector from 1 April 2021
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector will apply to existing specified tenancies from 1 April 2021.
UK property market continues to thrive
Property Patter: cohabitees and property rights - what do couples need to think about?
It is easy to drift into complicated territory when it comes to property arrangements between a couple
Ray Ng, Robert Avis and Tom Watts write for IFC Review on recent trends in firewall legislation
Ray, Robert and Tom review recent developments in firewall provisions in BVI, Bermuda and Gibraltar.
Charles Russell Speechlys LLP continues Hong Kong growth with the relocation of Real Estate Partner
We are delighted to continue the growth of our Hong Kong offering with the relocation of Simon Green to lead the firm’s focus in Asia.
Hugh Gunson and Guy Bud write for Taxation on Financial institution notices
Amendments will be made to allow HMRC to request information for the purposes of collecting a taxpayer’s tax debt.
I'm getting married in the morning, ding dong the bells are going to chime...
Hayley Lalsing and Laura Sheftel write for Property Law Journal on the Electrical Safety Standards in the private rented sector
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector Regulations 2020 will apply to existing specified tenancies from 1 April 2021.
Co-parenting arrangements - what are they and what are some of the key considerations?
Patrick Gearon FCIArb
Insolvency Legislation in the GCC
The interesting times of the last 14 months were preceded by the interesting times of the financial crisis of 2008/2009.