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Estate Planning in Switzerland

Estate Planning in Switzerland

Updated on Monday 21st September 2015

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Estate-Planning-in-SwitzerlandThe estate planning concept in Switzerland

Estate planning is considered a wealth management instrument in Switzerland. Estate planning is employed to transfer property in a tax-effective manner. Swiss citizens usually use estate planning to clarify any uncertainty about the transfer of property to heirs and to protect their assets. Among the estate planning solutions employed in Switzerland are:

  • - the prenuptial agreement,
  • - the will,
  • - the trust,
  • - the foundation,
  • - the life insurance.

The will as an estate planning tool in Switzerland

The will is probably the most common type of estate planning instrument in Switzerland and falls under the regulations of the Succession Law. The Succession Law is part of the Swiss Civil Law. According to the Swiss Succession Law there are three forms of wills:

  • - the public will,
  • - the holographic will,
  • - the oral will.

The Succession Law also recognizes the use of inheritance contracts as estate planning solutions in Switzerland.

The public will is usually drafted in the presence of two witnesses and before a notary or another official, according to the cantonal law. In order to be authenticated, a will must be read by the testator or by the official.

The Swiss holographic will is the most employed because it must be written by hand and it must include the year, the month and the day it was written. The holographic will must be signed by the testator.

The oral will is employed under extraordinary circumstances, usually when the testator is unable to handwrite it. In this case, the testator must declare his or her last will before two witnesses that will immediately after announce a Swiss court.

The inheritance contract as an estate planning instrument in Switzerland

The inheritance contract falls under the regulations of Article 512 in the Swiss Civil Code. The execution of an inheritance contract resembles the execution of a public will. However, the inheritance contract is concluded between the testator and the heir or legatee. If a will can be revoked, the Swiss inheritance contract offers few possibilities to the testator of revoking it. Thorough an inheritance will the testator can:

  • - nominate his or her heir,
  • - transfer legacies,
  • - leave funds for the establishment of a foundation,
  • - to nominate a substitute heir or legatee.

The testator may also impose certain obligations or conditions to the heir or legatee through the inheritance contract.

For complete details about drafting wills and other estate planning solutions please contact our law firm in Switzerland.




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