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Inheritance in Switzerland

Inheritance in Switzerland

Updated on Monday 21st September 2015

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Inheritance-in-SwitzerlandThe Inheritance Law in Switzerland

According to the Swiss Inheritance Law parents and spouses are regarded as statutory heirs. According to the Inheritance Law, when a will is not drafted or an inheritance contract is not concluded the surviving spouse is entitled to:

  • - half of the estate if any descendants exist,
  • - three quarters of the estate if there are no descendants, but one or both parents of the deceased live,
  • - the whole estate if no children or parental heirs exist.

According to the statutory laws, individuals may not dispose of their Swiss estate as they see fit, as the Succession Law mentions that descendants, spouses and parents have the right to a portion of the estate. Also, according to the Swiss law, heirs will inherit both assets and liabilities.

The testament as inheritance instrument in Switzerland

As mentioned above the Swiss Inheritance Law enforces the statutory order in inheritance matters. However, statutory inheritance will not be applied if the deceased has left a testament. The contract of succession is also provisioned by the Inheritance Law in Switzerland. According to the Swiss Civil Code, there are three forms of will:

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

 You may contact our attorneys in Switzerland for public testament preparation and notarization.

The Swiss contract of succession is concluded between two or more individuals and by which at least one of the individuals renounces the inheritance.

The inheritance tax in Switzerland

Succession in Switzerland is taxed at cantonal level and is based on the net assets transferred to the heirs. The Swiss inheritance tax applies in the following situation:

  • - on the estate of deceased Swiss residents,
  • - on the estate of foreign deceased individuals with real estate property in Switzerland,
  • - on the estate of foreign deceased individuals with companies in Switzerland.

The Swiss inheritance tax rates vary from canton to canton and depend on the relationship between the deceased and his or her heirs and the size of the estate. The inheritance tax for surviving spouses ranges between 0% and 6%. However, most cantons have started to eliminate the succession tax for descendants. For details about the inheritance legislation and taxes you can rely on our law firm in Switzerland.




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