Losing a loved one is a terrible blow, at all times and having to rush around in search of documents, statements and legal advice in order to take care of the settlement of the estate only contributes to the aggravation. All the more so when living far away from the rest of your core family and support network and having to deal with the international aspects. Heirs often wonder whether all has been done correctly. Clear and reliable advice in matters of inheritance law is vital, so that at some point life can go on.

General criteria of applicability of Dutch inheritance law are given, however, the devil is in the details’. Each country, according to its own International Private Law, decides which regime is applicable. While this may seem straightforward, there can be so many conflicting circumstances that even this is not clear-cut. Overseas assets, the nationalities of the deceased and the beneficiary, the nature of the partnership arrangements, married, common law relationships, children, no children – and all the attenuating details can also be of consequence.

GMW’s LED has a section dedicated to the ins and outs of international inheritance law, clarifying aspects such as:

  • Does your (foreign) will comply with Dutch Law?
  • Which law is applicable?
  • Who belongs to the first, second, third etc. group of heirs?
  • What is the tax burden on the inheritance?
  • How to secure parts of the inheritance that are abroad?
  • Which law kicks in when there is no will?
  • How to best divide assets?
  • Gifts and donations previously made by the testator;
  • Problems between a child from a previous marriage and the surviving step parent;
  • Disputes around the value of the assets to be divided.
  • What happens with the inheritance when you get divorced?

It is impossible to give an easy answer to all possible scenarios, since each and every situation is unique.

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