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Cross border inheritance in the EU gets simpler

Today, the Regulation on successions rendering cross-border inheritance easier comes into force. Until now international successions or wills with cross-border elements could be very complex since EU Member States had different rules to determine which court had jurisdiction to deal with a cross-border succession and which law applied to that succession.

This resulted in a lack of clarity, as courts in different Member States could conduct parallel proceedings with potentially conflicting outcomes, and in fewer opportunities for people to choose the law that should apply to their inheritance.

Commenting on the entry into force, Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: “Today we are making it cheaper and quicker to deal with international successions and wills. Citizens preparing a will can now choose to have the law of the country of their nationality applied to their estate, even if they live in a different Member State and have assets located in different countries. This will give peace of mind and legal certainty to roughly 450,000 European families each year, who are involved in cross-border cases. The result will be faster and cheaper procedures, saving EU citizens time and money in legal fees.”

The Regulation also introduces a European Certificate of Succession which will enable heirs and administrators to prove their status and exercise their rights and powers across the EU. As of today, the Regulation on successions will apply in all EU Member States except the UK, Ireland and Denmark, which opted out of this instrument.

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