- What are the key changes effective January 1, 2023?
The legitimate portion of the parents is definitively abolished; only descendants and surviving spouse/registered partner will be entitled to a statutory portion.
- What changes for children and spouses?
For legitimate descendants, the share of the legitimate portion will be equal to ½ instead of ¾ of the hereditary share of the legitimate heir. For surviving spouses, on the other hand, the legitimacy remains unchanged at ½ the share of the legitimate heir.
So it means that a parent has ½ of his assets available to donate to whoever he wants.
Example assets of CHF 100,000 in a family with two children: assets available to husband 50,000 first CHF 37,500, wife 25,000 and two children CHF 12,500 each CHF 18,750 each. Children receive CHF 6,250 less each.
- What happens with wills and contracts prior to December 31, 2022?
It is advisable to review the texts as in case of doubt the legitimate share of the children will be reduced to 50%, if there is no indication that the testator wanted to favor a child with a ¾ share.
- How is the protection of legitimate quotas improved?
Children or spouses who did not receive their legitimate share could reduce the provisions made during life (payment of supplementary education to a child) or bequeathed (example necklace to a granddaughter). With the change they can also reduce purchases due to death.
- What changes between spouses when a divorce process begins?
With the reform, the surviving spouse loses the right to the legitimate portion if divorce proceedings are pending at the time of death, initiated with a joint application by the spouses or if the spouses have lived apart for at least two years.
- Does it mean that my husband/wife is no longer the heir during a divorce process?
No, with the divorce proceedings pending, the right to the legitimate portion expires, not the status of legitimate heir established by law. If you do not want the still husband or wife to become an heir, you need to write a will, for example.
- After signing an inheritance contract, can I freely dispose of my assets?
No, dispositions on account of death and donations between living persons, with the exception of gifts for use, will be contested to the extent that they are incompatible with the obligations deriving from the inheritance contract, if the contract does not explicitly provide that the person has the right to dispose freely.
- What changes in the matter of restricted individual pensions?
There are several changes regarding the calculation of values in the succession and the right of redemption.
The tied retirement savings account and the credit from the tied retirement savings policy will not form part of the estate. The designated beneficiaries now have their own claim against the bank or insurance company, whereby the accrued credit must be paid directly to the beneficiaries. However, it must be taken into account that any surrender value of the pension insurance and, in the case of bank savings, the capital must be included in the decisive mass in order to determine the legitimate portion. Consequently, the heirs, whose legitimacy has not been violated, can file a reduction action.
- The law currently in force provides that, after concluding an inheritance contract, the parties can in principle freely dispose of their assets during their lifetime. What changes with the revision of the 2023 succession law in Switzerland?
Donations after the conclusion of an inheritance contract are prohibited unless there is a clause in the contract, which allows the disposition. Therefore, the consent of all parties involved is required.
- Under current law, spouses who have children together can benefit from the so-called usufruct solution. What changes with the revision of the 2023 succession law in Switzerland?
With the modification, the share that can be transferred to the surviving spouse increases from ¼ to ½.
- What do you recommend as a holistic lawyer?
The inheritance must be planned in time, especially if you have a company, real estate and children. It is not a question that should be left to chance, but it is like preparing a wedding, it must be planned in time. It is not a question that should be postponed due to old age, because one is afraid to address the issue of one’s passing or because one thinks that the children are not mature for the question.
Emotional issues are linked with inheritance, which we tend not to want to see to avoid clashes and bad feelings in the family. Parents have a responsibility to bring clarity to the division of assets, as inheritance disputes can cause high costs and bring a lot of bitterness into the family.
A simple lawyer doesn’t solve family problems, but takes advantage of the quarrels. As a holistic lawyer, I put the well-being of the client and the family at the center, so that fathers and mothers can feel good because they value their relationship with other family members with family counseling. With preventive advice, assets are not squandered on useless disputes. The mental health of the heirs is also considered, who avoid burdening the mind and hearts with bad memories of the past, which come to the surface during quarrels and cause stress, anger and sleepless nights.
Interview with Radio Lora Italiana in Zurich on this topic: https://youtu.be/GrphlMAcdAw
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