Hoge Raad

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.

A last will is too important a document to be done without seeking the advice of a lawyer or a notary. Dutch law requires a last will to be drawn up by a notary. One is also well advised to check if a previously formulated will complies with the new host country’s inheritance law. Your will made before moving to The Netherlands will be recognised, as long as the formalities required by the law of the country where the will was drawn up were fulfilled.

As the Testator, for the division of property and assets, pension rights and custody rights, you can choose a different law (one law per testament) to the law of the country in which you reside at the moment you draw up your will if:

  • you have the respective country’s nationality at the time you choose its inheritance law to apply for your case;
  • you have the respective country’s nationality at the time of your death;
  • you have habitually resided in the respective country at the time you choose its inheritance law to apply for your case;
  • you have habitually resided in the respective country at the time of your death.

In general, it will be possible to have your will executed in The Netherlands unless the will contains provisions that are contrary to Dutch law (eg, in the case of a ‘share-testament’ that prescribes that a daughter inherits only half of a son’s inheritance).

For more information, please contact us – our experts in inheritance will be glad to help you.

Marieke Morshuis - Expat lawyer (family law)

Marieke has been a family lawyer since her graduation of the University of Leiden in 1988. After being a lawyer with Wladimirov and Spong Advocaten for 10 years, she joined GMW lawyers in 2000. Marieke has a particular interest in the ever complicated and intricate world of international inheritance law and she has been leading this section for the last 5 years. She is also involved in conducting proceedings and negotiations in complicated international divorce issues.

In the break-up of relationships, she will achieve the best result while avoiding animosity wherever possible, looking after the interests of any children. She has a keen eye for the financial aspects of both inheritance and divorce issues and has established an excellent reputation in cases that require unusually close attention because of emotional entanglements.

Outside of her work, Marieke often acts as a guest speaker at seminars for the Worldwide Fund for Nature.