What factors cause succession laws to apply on the death of an individual?

Private Client

France Small Flag France

Since August 2015, under the EU Succession Regulation, the law applicable to the succession, including immovable and movable assets, is the law of the country in which the deceased has his habitual residence at the time of death. This rule applies whether or not the deceased is a member of the EU.

The EU Succession Regulation 650/2012 allows, however, a person to choose the law of country whose nationality he/she possesses at the time of making the choice, or at the time of death, as the law to govern his/her succession. A person with several nationalities can choose the law of any of the countries whose nationality he/she possesses. As a consequence, when a person who is not French national dies having his/her last habitual residence in France, the French “notaire” should check the choice made during his/her life. If no choice has been made, the French “notaire” should apply the French law of succession. If a choice has been made, the French “notaire” should apply the law of succession chosen by the deceased.

Italy Small Flag Italy

Conflicts of law rules are regulated by the EU Regulation No. 650/2012 of 4 July 2012 (the EU Succession Regulation). Habitual residence in Italy would generally lead to the application of Italian succession law. If the habitual residence of the individual is located outside of Italy, Italian succession law may still be applicable due to a renvoi to Italian succession law (see 14). In both cases, the possibility to elect for a foreign law of nationality is granted.

Israel Small Flag Israel

The Succession Law provides that the law applying to an estate is the law of the place of residence of the deceased at the time of death.

Greece Small Flag Greece

The succession law of the deceased’s nationality is applicable upon death, regardless of the assets’ location.

Germany Small Flag Germany

According to the EU Succession Regulation the inheritance law applicable to an individual’s succession is determined by his last habitual residence if (1.) the deceased is not manifestly more closely connected to another jurisdiction and (2.) if he has not opted for the succession law of his citizenship.

Belgium Small Flag Belgium

According to the European Succession Regulation 650/2012 of 4 July 2012 by which Belgium is bound, the law applicable to the succession as a whole shall be the law of the state in which the deceased had his habitual residence at the time of his death. A person may choose as the law to govern his succession as a whole the law of the state whose nationality he possesses at the time of making the choice or at the time of death.

British Virgin Islands Small Flag British Virgin Islands

See the answer to question 12 above.

For these purposes shares in BVI companies will be regarded as BVI-situs property as a consequence of section 245 of the BVI Business Companies Act, 2004 (as will absolute beneficial interests in such shares). Subject to that, the extent of which property will be regarded as ‘movable’ or ‘immovable’ will be determined by applying very similar principles to those which apply by virtue of English common law.

A person’s ‘domicile’ as a matter of BVI law will, be determined by applying the relevant principles of English common law.

If an issue of succession is referred to the laws of another jurisdiction the doctrine of renvoi would be applicable to the same extent to which it would were the referral to be one made by English law.

UAE Small Flag UAE

Shari’a law will apply to all Muslims. Non-Muslim expatriates, or other foreign owners of assets in Dubai, may make a Will to ensure that their assets pass other than in accordance with Shari’a law. The local courts in theory will accept the validity of a foreign Will following the implementation of the new Law No. 15 of 2017, however to ensure that a Will will be recognised in Dubai, it is thought to be better practice to register a Will with the Dubai International Financial Centre Wills and Probate Registry (DIFC WPR).

New Zealand Small Flag New Zealand

New Zealand’s succession laws apply to a person who has property located in New Zealand or is living in New Zealand and has property located in New Zealand.

Monaco Small Flag Monaco

Under Monaco law, the place of the opening of the succession is the domicile of the deceased. Monegasque courts have jurisdiction to rule on successions opened on the territory of Monaco or when an immoveable asset belonging to the estate is located in Monaco.

The estate of a foreigner resident in Monaco is subject to Monaco private international law rules.

Monegasque law will apply to the estate of an individual domiciled in Monaco at the time of his/her death, unless the deceased has expressly elected his/her national law to govern the entirety of his/her estate.

Updated: December 8, 2017