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Bank Account Succession in Switzerland

Bank Account Succession in Switzerland

Updated on Friday 08th January 2016

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Bank-account-succession-in-SwitzerlandSwiss inheritance law on bank account succession

The Swiss Civil Code is the main regulatory framework dealing with inheritance matters. However, the Swiss inheritance legislation is quite complicated as there are various aspects that need to be taken into consideration when dealing with succession cases. First, it depends on whether the deceased left a will or not and then one must also get acquainted with the law applicable to the estate to be inherited. The Swiss law allows for all types of assets to be divided among heirs or to be inherited by one heir alone. These assets include from the common real estate property to amounts of money and even bank accounts. In case the deceased did not leave a will, the forced heirship regime applies. It is always advisable to verify with a Swiss law firm the applicable laws when it comes to inheritance.

Structures employed to make Swiss bank account succession easier

The simplest way of making bank account succession easy for one’s heirs is to use estate planning solutions. Both foreign and Swiss citizens have the possibility to use several types of structures in case of bank account succession. These are:

  • -          trusts;
  • -          foundations.

Setting up trusts in Switzerland is not a common practice, however the courts acknowledge the existence of foreign trusts. Foundations, on the other hand, are among the most common estate planning tools in Switzerland.

If you want to set up a foundation in Switzerland in order to make bank account succession easier, you can request the services of our attorneys.

Inheritance of bank accounts in Switzerland

The Swiss legislation on inheritance acknowledges two types of joint ownership:

  • -          co-ownership;
  • -          joint tenancy.

While co-ownership is related to the assets achieved during marriage, joint tenancy usually refers to the assets held by several heirs.

Wills usually include provisions about the succession of all assets, including bank accounts. Swiss banks will always respect the instructions given by the account holder in relation to the heirs of the said account. In case a person dies intestate (without leaving a will), the succession of the bank account will be done in accordance with the applicable inheritance regime.

If you need assistance with the bank account succession procedure, do not hesitate to contact our Swiss lawyers.



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