New EU rules to ease cross-border successions

The new EU Regulation (EU) No 650/2012 in matters of succession and on the creation of a European Certificate of Succession will make sure that:
a given succession is treated coherently, by one single court applying one single law;

  • citizens are able to choose whether the law applicable to their succession should be that of their last habitual residence or that of their nationality;
  • parallel proceedings and conflicting judicial decisions are avoided;
  • decisions relating to successions given in one EU country are recognised and enforced in other EU countries.

However, the initiative in no way alters the substantive national rules on successions.

The following issues continue to be governed by national rules:

  • who is to inherit and what share of the estate goes to children and spouse;
  • property law and family law in an EU country;
  • tax issues related to the succession assets.

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