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When can I claim a part of the inheritance my partner receives?

reading time 3 minutes published on 11 January 2021

In this blog I explain in what situation you can claim a part of the inheritance that your partner receives, based on Dutch law. This depends both on what the testator included in his/her will and what you agreed with your partner.

What is in the testator’s will?

The first step is to determine whether the will of the person who died, the testator, contains a provision on how the estate should be handled in the event that one of the heirs has a partner. In a will, a so-called exclusion clause can be included which stipulates that the assets to be inherited or certain goods, may not benefit a partner.

Exclusion clauses come in different varieties, but in principle, if there is such a clause in the will, you as a partner cannot claim a part of the inheritance. For a conclusive answer to this question, it is always wise to present your specific case to a lawyer.

What did you agree to together?

If there is no exclusion clause in the will, the next question is what you and your partner agreed on to determine whether you are entitled to the inheritance. This agreement can follow from the law or from notarial conditions or an agreement you have entered into with each other.

In the following I always assume that there is no exclusion clause.

Marriage in community of property

If you were married in community of property before January 1, 2018, according to Dutch law this means that you both have a half claim to an inheritance that accrues to one of you, regardless of whose side this inheritance comes in from.

The foregoing also applies if you entered into a registered partnership before January 1, 2018 without drawing up partnership conditions.

Marriage in limited community of property

If you got married after 1 January 2018 and did not draw up a prenuptial agreement, according to Dutch law this means that you are married in a limited community of property. As far as inheritances are concerned, this means that they remain outside the matrimonial community of property. Inheritances received before or during the marriage remain yours and you do not have to share them with your partner.

The above also applies if you entered into a registered partnership after 1 January 2018 without drawing up partnership conditions.

Marriage with a prenuptial agreement

If you are married under a prenuptial agreement, it depends on what you and your partner have included in this agreement whether you can claim an inheritance that your partner receives. This is different in each case.

The above also applies if you have entered into a registered partnership with partnership conditions. Even then, the question is what is included in your partnership conditions about inheritances.

Not married and not registered partners, what then?

But what if you are not married and have not entered into a registered partnership and are simply living together. In that case, it again depends on the agreements you have made with each other.

When you and your partner have a cohabitation contract, it depends - just like with prenuptial agreements and partnership agreements - on the content of this contract what you are entitled to mutually. If it states that you share inheritances, you have a right to them. If you live together without a contract, this means that you have no right to an inheritance that your partner receives.

Tailored advice

If you would like to know exactly what your situation is, please contact me to discuss what I can do for you.


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