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Inheritance law

International inheritance law

There are many ways in which you may be called upon to deal with international inheritance law. For example, the decedent may be a Dutch national who was living abroad at the time of his death or the property in the estate is located abroad.

Inheritance Law Regulation

As of 17 August 2015, all cases involving international inheritance law are subject to the Inheritance Law Regulation. This regulation applies to all the member states of the European Union with the exception of Denmark, the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The Inheritance Law Regulation regulates various components, including:
-    The competence of the court to make decisions about the estate;
-    The law applicable to the estate (substantive assessment)
-    The acknowledgement of the judicial decision applicable to the estate.

The European Certificate of Inheritance was introduced with the European Inheritance Law Regulation. This certificate serves as proof, within the European Union, that you are an heir with rights to specific assets located abroad. 

Which court is competent to make decisions about the estate?

The main rule is that the court in the last principal place of residence of the decedent is competent to decide on the estate. The criterion, ‘last principal place of residence’, is a factual concept that needs to be assessed based on all the aspects of the decedent’s life.

Which law applies to the estate?

To determine which law applies to the estate on the grounds of the Inheritance Law Regulation, the court must also assess the criterion, last principal place of residence of the decedent. This is subject to the possibility that the decedent may have made a choice of law in his/her will.

Do you need advice in dealing with an estate with international aspects?

The inheritance law specialists at SILK are always ready to assist you.

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Coen van den End


Margreet Ruijgrok


Sabrina de Jong


A picture of the team of Silk.

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