New EU Regulation to be Passed on Succession and Wills

Raymundo LarraĆ­n Nesbitt, May, 18. 2010

Every year 450,000 successions are bogged down on cross-border issues relating to the applicable laws. The EU has decided to adopt regulation to help avoid all the related problems that these transnational inheritance cases give way to.

This new regulation, known as the “Brussels IV Regulation”, purports to create a “European Certificate of Inheritance” which endeavours to harmonise the winding-up of the estate procedure to be followed. This certificate is devised to greatly simplify succession procedures throughout all EU-member countries and will hinge on the person’s last “habitual residency” to determine which succession laws ought to be applied. Additionally, this new regulation will also allow testators to choose which regulation should be applied to dispose of their assets and rights.

This regulation is not expected to be approved before 2011/2012. You can find a draft of this interesting new law in English here.

In case you are worried that Brussels will meddle on your deathbed dictating on your overseas estate you ought to know that both Ireland and the U.K.’s Government have opted out of its application, at least in its present form. So for the time being if you hold either of these citizenships you shouldn’t be too worried.

In any case let me close adding that this new regulation is geared towards making European succession procedures run smoothlier and more efficiently; they are not passed to curtail your national rights. Besides it’ll make us lawyers’ life’s easier… and that cannot possibly be wrong, can it?


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Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers is a law firm specialized in taxation, inheritance, conveyancing, and litigation. We will be very pleased to discuss your matter with you.  You can contact us by e-mail at, by telephone on (+34) 952 19 22 88 or by completing our contact form to book an appointment.


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