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Inheritance from abroad

An inheritance from abroad can raise several questions: for example, which law applies to the inheritance (who gets what?), how and under which law does the settlement take place, how do heirs come into possession of a foreign located part of the inheritance assets and which documents must be submitted?

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An inheritance from abroad within the EU

If you are dealing with an inheritance from abroad within the EU, the European Succession Regulation may be applicable. This regulation applies in all EU countries except Denmark and Ireland. Questions of international jurisdiction, applicable law and recognition and enforcement are then governed by this regulation. The European Succession Regulation introduces the European Certificate of Succession; a document that aims to promote in the EU a “swift, smooth and efficient handling” of an inheritance from abroad. Read more about it on the European Certificate of Succession page.

In the case of an inheritance from abroad where the European Succession Regulation does not apply, the private international law of that other country will prevail. If, for example, it concerns an inheritance which has occurred in South Africa, then the law applicable there will determine which documents are needed to receive the inheritance there.

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Personal Contact

The IJI has a small-scale character, and that is also our strength. You will always have personal contact with a dedicated staff member, and communication lines are short.

Worldwide Network

We have a global network of legal experts from academia and practice. We can readily engage this network when your case requires it.

Up-to-Date Expertise

We have strong connections with legal experts from both the judiciary and the legal profession, as well as academia. We actively participate in the scientific discourse, which allows us to stay well-informed about the latest developments in our field of law.

Independent Advice

As a result, our reports are highly valuable in substantiating a judicial decision, serving as the foundation for a notarial deed, or supporting the arguments in a legal pleading.

Erfenis uit buitenland binnen de EU en de formele geldigheid van een testament

Als het gaat om de formele geldigheid van een testament gemaakt in een EU-lidstaat die aan de Europese erfrechtverordening gebonden is, dan wordt deze beoordeeld aan de hand van het Haags Testamentsvormenverdrag 1961. Dit geldt ook voor een testament afkomstig uit een land waar de erfrechtverordening niet geldt.

What our clients say about us

Lawyer Tim de Greve, partner at Stibbe.

I regularly consult the IJI in cases involving private international law aspects. The institute has been around for over 100 years, so it boasts a long history and experience. There are eminent people associated with it. Not the least Mr Strikwerda. The IJI legal counsels think along with you, immediately understand the question you are facing and come up with solutions. They have the right connections at home and abroad to answer questions within a reasonable time. Apart from that, it is very pleasant working with the people of the IJI.

Advocaat mr. Channa Samkalden, Prakken d’Oliveira

We have consulted the IJI in several cases. One example is a case brought by some Nigerian farmers against Shell about oil pollution in Nigeria. That case involved the application of Nigerian law by the Dutch courts. And the IJI figured out the framework of tort law in Nigeria for that purpose for us. We used that advice in the proceedings and also submitted it to the court and it showed, for example, that our claimants were also entitled to claim against Shell under Nigerian law. Actually in all those kinds of cases, the IJI is extremely useful because you get a very solid advice on the basis of which you know: do we want to have a number of things investigated further, can that be done by the IJI or should we turn to someone else? But at least you can use this information at an early stage of your proceedings.

Lawyer mr. Ria van Seventer, Meesters aan de Maas Advocaten

Our law firm is based in Rotterdam, a city with more than 170 nationalities, so we regularly have to seek private international law advice from the IJI. For example, I have had to deal with the recognition of a child by an Italian, to which Italian law has to be applied. I don’t speak Italian so I can’t do that myself. I also don’t have access to the sources and the IJI does.

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