What about death and inheritance law?

When you come to the Netherlands as an expat, most expats will not be concerned with death and inheritance law. Yet you may also have to deal with death when living in another country. To avoid leaving your loved ones with questions, it may be wise to think about this while you are alive. After all, each country has its own rules. Inheriting abroad can still be extremely complicated.

Inheritance Regulation Law

As an expat, you may have lived in multiple countries and have accumulated assets in multiple countries. But what happens to your estate when you die? Which law applies to your estate? When it comes to inheritance law, each country has its own rules. This also applies to the applicable law. Some countries follow the nationality of the deceased, others the country of residence of the deceased or where the deceased accumulated his assets. In practice, this can cause quite a few problems if someone has a connection with several countries.

All members of the EU, except for Denmark, Ireland and the UK have tried to solve one of these problems by uniforming their rules on the applicable law for inheritance law.  Namely, the law that will be applied to the estate is the law of the country in which the deceased had his or her habitual residence at the time of their death. In short if you have not arranged anything regarding your estate and you pass away when you are living in the Netherlands, Dutch law may apply to your estate.

Choice of law

It is possible to influence your choice of law. Since the arrival of the Inheritance Regulation you can only make a choice of law for the country of which you hold nationality. Based on the inheritance regulation your choice of law will apply in all member states and this can’t be overruled. The only way to specify a choice of law in the Netherlands is in a will. A will is an official deed. According to the Dutch Civil Code it could only be drawn up by a notary. Lawyers can’t draw up a will.

If you move abroad from the Netherlands or move to a country outside the member states of this inheritance regulation, it might be useful to gain advice from a lawyer and/or notary to verify how these countries handle inheritance law.

 

Help with settling estate

You and/or your partner might not have been thinking about inheritance law. However, if the worst possible scenario occurs and you and/or your partner or (another) family member dies, the estate will have to be settled. If you are not familiar with (Dutch) inheritance law we advise you to seek information first before you start settling the estate. In the Netherlands, unlike in other countries, as an heir you can become liable for debts of the deceased in certain situations. Therefore it is important that you are informed about this.

 

Get advice you can trust

Are you living as an expat in the Netherlands or are you Dutch and planning to live abroad? Then our advice is to start thinking about how you want to take care of your estate. For example, start thinking about a will if you have not already got one. If you have a will, find out how the Inheritance Law Regulation might effect your will.

 

GMW lawyers has English-speaking inheritance lawyers (no notaries) who can help you prevent problems, or solve existing inheritance issues. A lawyer can help you if you need help or advice with settling your estate. They can also inform you about your rights or help you find out which law applies. Our lawyers have a broad international network which can help if the settlement requires cooperation with foreign countries. We have a lot of experience with international clients/expats and have the expertise to advice you on the possibilities. Please note that if you want to draw up a will in the Netherlands, a civil-notary is the only one whom is entitled to draw up this official deed.

More information

If you have any questions, would like more information or if you need help, then please do not hesitate to contact us. Our (international) inheritance law experts are happy to assist you.

Marital property law in the European Union

When it comes to the settlement of marital property, in the case of divorce, death, inheritance and gifts, it is not uncommon for foreign law to apply. However, when it comes to marital property law in the European Union you might wonder which law applies.

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International divorce: cross-border legal cooperation

GMW lawyers and the Legal Expat Desk serve clients across the globe. Cross-border legal cooperation in the practice of law is reflected in the growing number of divorce cases with an international dimension. GMW lawyers represents expats who, for example, want to arrange their divorce in the Netherlands. Or the ones who are forced to do so by their spouse.

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Spousal alimony: when the receiving ex moves in with a new partner

Many of those paying spousal alimony hope their obligation to do so will stop, when the receiving ex moves in with a new partner. However, things are not as simple as that.

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Pension given low priority in international divorce cases

In almost all divorce cases, the division of retirement pension is one of the last things married couples think about, particularly in the case of international divorces where the spouses’ priorities lie elsewhere.

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Can a Dutch couple abroad always get a divorce in the Netherlands?

Previous blog posts (here and here) mainly focused on whether foreign nationals living in the Netherlands can file for divorce in the Netherlands. This blog post will look at Dutch nationals living abroad and competency of the Dutch court.

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International divorce: in which country should proceedings be conducted?

Marriages can have an international dimension, due to e.g. nationality or place of residence. The question then arises where divorce proceedings should be conducted.

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International divorce in the Netherlands

If you’ve already made the decision to get divorced, the next step is discovering your options. While many divorce arrangements must still be agreed, the good news is that obtaining a divorce is easier in the Netherlands.

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Why call a lawyer?

Many people hesitate before getting legal advice – not because they are unsure if they need it, but because they are uncertain if they ought to involve a lawyer. Legal Expat Desk explains why calling a lawyer can be the right thing to do.

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Divorce for expats in the Netherlands 2021

Key legal information about divorce in 2021 and 4 reasons to get divorced in the Netherlands.

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Child maintenance 2021

What you need to know about child maintenance in the Netherlands in 2021 from maintenance specialist Dylan Bertsch.

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Partner alimony 2021

Everything you need to know about partner alimony in the Netherlands in 2021 from divorce and alimony expert Dylan Bertsch.

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Expats and adjustment of maintenance

You live in the Netherlands as a divorced expat. At the time of the divorce, you and your ex-partner made agreements about child maintenance and/or partner alimony (maintenance), or a decision was taken by the court. However, as an expat in the Netherlands, there is a good chance that your situation will change. Below is a discussion of what a change in your situation means for the maintenance you receive or pay.

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The new normal – legally speaking

So much has changed in our day-to-day lives since “corona” became part of our vocabulary that it’s easy to believe that everything is different. So has this crisis fundamentally changed your legal rights in the Netherlands? Our legal experts summarise what you need to know.

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8 Myths about Dutch law – busted

Truth or fiction? Our legal experts dispel some common misunderstandings about Dutch law.

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Registered partnership: what you need to know

In recent years, fewer and fewer people are married in the Netherlands. At the same time, the number of people entering into a registered partnership is increasing. However, a registered partnership is relatively unknown outside the Netherlands. This article explains what the consequences of a registered partnership may be for you, what the differences between a marriage and a registered partnership are and how a registered partnership is dealt with abroad.

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Divorce in the Netherlands 2020 – what you need to know

Relationships can change at any stage of our lives, including while living in another country. If the time comes to get divorced, understanding your legal rights will help you achieve the best possible outcome.

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The (not so) amicable truth about divorce

Many people believe that they will be able to make the end of their relationship civil – but unfortunately, this does not always happen. Instead, escalating hurt and anger cause hostility and make communication difficult. In such circumstances, the divorce process is anything but friendly. This is where a good divorce lawyer can help.

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How to get divorced in the Netherlands – a guide for expats

If you want to get divorced, and you live in the Netherlands, you need to:

  1. Confirm if you can get divorced in the Netherlands
  2. Get a lawyer. You cannot represent yourself.
  3. Find out how to get the best possible divorce. This includes making specific agreements about your children and other important matters.
  4. Go through the legal process of a divorce.

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Why you don’t need a reason to get divorced in the Netherlands

According to Dutch law, it doesn’t matter why you want to get divorced. This fact surprises many expats. Antoine de Werd of GMW lawyers explains why this rule in Dutch law exists, and what it means for you.

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Divorce and inheritance news for expats

Are you an international (expat) in the Netherlands? Are you going through a divorce? Have you received an inheritance or gift? If your answer to these questions is yes, read on…

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Inheritance law for expats in the Netherlands – key considerations

Inheritance is fundamentally a difficult subject to think about, but as an expat with family in other countries, it can be even harder as you have to deal with contradictory and confusing international laws during a difficult time. Here are some key considerations to simplify inheritance law for expats living in the Netherlands.

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Who will guard your child when you’re gone?

Historically, if you wanted to designate a guardian for your child, it had to be done by will. Today, a new option is available which makes this process cheaper and easier: appointing a guardian via the parental authority register.

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Top 10 FAQ about divorce in the Netherlands for expats

The world is global, and so are today’s marriages. When it comes to getting divorced this can make it complicated – but for those who wish to divorce in the Netherlands, there are 10 tips which help keep it simple. Get answers to the top 10 most frequently asked questions about divorce for expats living in the Netherlands.

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Help! My ex-partner took my child abroad, what can I do?

The world is global, and so are today’s relationships. With more and more children born into international relationships, the number of travelling families grows. This explains the increase of the number of child abductions. So what can you do if you are the left-behind parent?

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Same-sex marriage & divorce

Is it always possible for homosexual couples to file a divorce in the Netherlands? Since 2001, Dutch law recognises marriage between two persons of the same sex. With recognition of same-sex marriage, the Netherlands also offers the possibility for same-sex couples to file for divorce.

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Attention divorcing Aussies!

Suppose you are an Australian, now living in The Netherlands. While you were living in Australia, you got married. During your marriage, you received an inheritance following your parents’ death in Australia. You’re now facing divorce in The Netherlands. Do you have to share your inheritance with your ex?

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Divorce: nowhere easier than in the Netherlands

There are an enormous number of things that make up a divorce. Not only the divorce petition itself, but also various further arrangements which the spouses need to agree upon. These include the parental contact, maintenance (alimony) and the allocation of assets. Agreeing on divorce arrangements is no easier in the Netherlands than any other country. However, obtaining a divorce in the Netherlands is easier.

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Recognising foreign spousal maintence decisions

What if a court in America or Switzerland or elsewhere has made a ruling on spousal maintenance and you want to invoke it to claim against their assets in the Netherlands?

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Pay your ex-partner’s divorce costs?

Most Dutch marriages are still based on community of property. But who pays the lawyers’ costs in the event of a divorce? Does this come under the marital estate or do the spouses pay their own costs?

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When does Dutch law apply to divorce?

Although Dutch divorce law stipulates rules about pensions, for internationals in the Netherlands going through a divorce, it may very well be that a different law is applied to the question of spousal maintenance from the law applied to the matrimonial property. In order to determine which law should be applied in respect of maintenance we need to consult other sources besides the Hague Marriage Convention of 1978.

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Moving without your partner’s consent

If you share parental authority of your children with your ex-partner, moving into a new home with them is not straightforward and moving abroad without the consent of your ex-partner’s is viewed as child abduction.

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Death in the Netherlands – how to deal with inheritance issues

The death of a relative is never an easy thing to deal with, but can be even more complicated and distressing when you live in a foreign country. What does Dutch law say about succession and inheritance?

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Statutory indexation of child and spousal alimony

Each year, the Minister of Justice determines the alimony index. For 2018, due to inflation, the percentage is 1.5%. This means that the allowance concluded in your divorce convenant or court order has an automatic increase of 1.5% as of January 1, 2018. This percentage is based on the labor price index, determined by Statistics Netherlands (Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek/CBS).

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A divorce under common law in the Netherlands

In most European countries, the legal system is based on Roman law, with the law laid down in codes. In Anglo-American countries, the law, known as common law is laid down in jurisprudence based on customary law. Countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia have a legal system based on customary law. In practice, this difference in approach can cause problems in divorce cases involving both legal systems.

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Misconceptions in international family law

More and more, people find love across the border. They fall in love with someone living abroad or with a different nationality. While the relationship flourishes all is fine, but what if the marriage fails?

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International and Dutch matrimonial law Q&A

One of the less obvious effects of globalisation is the growing number of international marriages worldwide. Online news platform Lawyer Monthly did an interview with international family law expert Antoine de Werd from GMW lawyers, The Hague, the Netherlands. The interview was about the marital property regime as well as issues of competence and applicable law in divorce cases in The Netherlands.

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International Child Abduction

Abduction can be extremely damaging for a child and is never the solution to a problematic situation.

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Affairs and other grounds for divorce

Many people still believe that the courts are interested in the grounds for divorce. This is a common misconception because the truth is, the courts do not care about the reasons for divorce.

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September 8, 2017: The Day of Divorce

Friday, September 8, 2017 is the Day of Divorce. This is a day when you can obtain information about divorce from specialist lawyers.

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Internationals filing for divorce in the Netherlands

Internationals filing for divorce in the Netherlands are often stunned by the far-reaching financial consequences of Dutch marital property law, more specifically the Dutch ‘regime of community of assets and property’.

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Travelling abroad with children

Don’t be caught unprepared at the airport if you’re flying with your children. Learn what the rules are for travelling abroad with your children.

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Maintenance calculation for internationals part 4: allowances & high costs

The third blog within the series on maintenance calculation for internationals listed the allowances which internationals usually receive. Against most allowances, there are high costs associated with the existence of an international. How are these taken into account?

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Maintenance calculation for internationals part 3: partner maintenance

The previous two blogs on maintenance calculation for internationals focused on the costs of the children (blog 1 and blog 2). This third post in the series focuses on partner maintenance (alimony), which is determined by the available means in the marriage.

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Maintenance calculation internationals part 2: extra costs for children

Part 1 of this blog series on maintenance calculation for internationals talked about maintenance for children of internationals. After a divorce within an international family, often the ex-spouses spread over different countries. Contact between the non-caring parent and his/her children therefore incurs more costs than compliance with contact arrangements within national borders. How does the maintenance (alimony) calculation deal with these extra costs?

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Maintenance calculation part 1: children of internationals

Many foreigners live and work in the Netherlands. Particularly in The Hague and surrounding areas, there are many international organisations and companies, including EPO, Estec, OPCW, NATO, ICC, the tribunals as well as Shell and Siemens.

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Spell it out and let them know

When abroad, the death of a friend or colleague brings home to you how much trouble unfinished business can add to sorrow. For lasting peace of mind, dare to take the extra step and review the scenario you’d prefer in the case of your untimely demise: draw up a last will and make things easy for those you love.

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Child abduction by a parent: it happens more often than one might think

What is child abduction?

In legal terms, child abduction is the removal of a child from his or her habitual place of residence by one of the parents or custodial parent, without the consent and agreement of the (other) custodian or parent. Although it might not be immediately obvious, not returning the child on time, as agreed, after a holiday abroad or after a family visit to the country of origin also counts as child abduction. The same holds for expat families living in The Netherlands for short periods of time or for families living apart most of the time. In these cases, establishing the habitual place of residence of a child is more difficult than may seem at first sight.

Recent case law indicates an increase in the number of child abduction cases. Although each case has its unique circumstances, the increased dynamics of the global work force may be one reason for this development.

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (1980) is a legal tool. It is meant to help a/the custodial parent regain access to the abducted child. This tool facilitates the return of the minor to his or her habitual place of residence. By appointing a Central Authority in each country, the signatory parties have agreed to co-operate towards the immediate return of the abducted child to his or her habitual place of residence.

The custodial parent can seek assistance from the Central Authority of his or her country of residence. This can be done within one year from the date of abduction. Upon this request, the Central Authority will contact the Central Authority in the country where the child has been removed to. This, in order to quickly return the child to its habitual place of residence. It is advisable, however, that the parent also notifies the police, filing an official complaint for abduction.

Sadly, abductions also happen in countries that are not signatory parties to the Convention. As awareness on such cases has grown internationally, case law catches up with reality. Even when a child has been held in a country that is not a signatory to the Convention against the will of the other custodian parent, quite often they manage to negotiate the return of the child via diplomatic channels. Needless to say, but good to reiterate: countries that are not signatories to the Convention are under no obligation to co-operate.

Is the Central Authority to lose its monopoly position in the near future?

The Eerste Kamer (Dutch Senate) has received a draft law asking to end the monopoly position of the Central Authority in cases of international child abduction. The custodial parent whose child has been abducted might soon be able to take action by hiring a specialised lawyer, should the draft law be passed. This would hopefully speed up proceedings, as well as widening the spectrum of available legal tools.

The mere thought of having to deal with child abduction is harrowing. Prevention is always better than having to resort to cure. Abduction might be prevented by hiding the children’s passports, keeping the channels of communication with the inlaws open or informing the police. It is essential that the parents’ problems remain negotiable; cross-border mediation has prooved to be succesful.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if your child has been abducted, if you are contemplating the abduction of your child or if you are aware of a situation where child abductions occur. Our lawyers have extensive expertise in dealing with cases of international child abduction and are happy to assist you.

 

Forced contact between parent and child

What do you do if after a divorce you, as a child, want to remain in contact with one of your parents, but your parent does not want to stay in contact with you?

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Relocation after divorce: are the children coming or not?

Is a divorced parent permitted to relocate with his or her child without the consent of the other parent? The answer to this question largely depends on the facts and circumstances of the case in question.

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