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Inheritance law

Voidability or nullity of the will

In some instances, you might doubt the correctness of a will. This could concern the contents of the will or the circumstances under which the will was drawn up.

Nullity of the will

A will must fulfil a number of formal requirements to be deemed valid in the Netherlands. For example, on the grounds of Article 4:94 of the Dutch Civil Code, the will must be drawn up by a notary public and signed by the decedent, as well as the notary. 

A will could be deemed null and void due to an error in form. This would be the case if, for example, the decedent failed to sign the will. A will could also be deemed null and void if the contents of the will are in conflict with public decency or public order.

Other grounds for the nullity of a will include instances in which the decedent was ‘legally incapable’ at the time of the drawing up of the will. This question is often raised in the practice. In those instances, a test must be conducted to determine whether the decedent was indeed legally incapable or otherwise when the will was drawn up. From a legal perspective, this is a difficult question to answer, because adequate proof concerning the mental condition of the decedent will mostly not be available. It is also possible that the will might have been drawn up years ago, which would make the collection of evidence even harder.

Voidability of the will

It is not possible to declare a will null and void simply because an heir or other third party does not agree with the contents thereof. A will can however be declared null and void if the decedent had erred in the drawing up of the will (the decedent acted based on erroneous assumptions) or in the case of intimidation/threat or deception. The nullification of a will is a difficult subject from the legal point of view.

If you need advice concerning the nullity or voidability of a will, please do not hesitate to contact the lawyers at SILK. We are always available to advise you and provide clear answers on the feasibility of your claims.

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