Drafting a will as a mean of succession planning

Regulation (EU) No 650/2012 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and acceptance and enforcement of authentic instruments in matters of succession and on the creation of a European Certificate of Succession (hereinafter referred to as the Regulation) was adopted on 04 July 2012 and its rules apply to the succession of persons who have died on or since 17 August 2015.

The Regulation covers all forms of transfer of assets, rights, and obligations by reason of death, whether by way of

The Regulation applies to inheritance procedures in, for example, cases when persons are moving from one Member State to another for employment or life after retirement. This situation often leads to owning property by EU citizens in different Member States, as well as marriages between EU citizens who are nationals of different Member States.

The Regulation lays down rules to determine which EU Member State’s authorities will deal with a cross-border succession and which national law will apply to that succession. In this way, a testator when making a will can plan their succession, and heirs no longer need to deal with multiple national laws and authorities. The Regulation also makes it easier for a court decision or a notarial document dealing with a succession matter issued in one EU Member State to have effects in another EU Member State. Finally, the Regulation creates the European certificate of succession (ECS); a document that can be requested, among others, by heirs to prove their status and exercise their rights in another EU Member State.

In addition, it would be important to point out that EU Member State’s authorities where the deceased was habitually resident at the time of death will deal with a cross-border succession and will, in general, apply the right of that EU Member State.

Citizens can, however, choose to apply the right of the country of which they are nationals to the succession (an EU Member State or a non-EU country). This choice of right may be stated in a will or in a separate declaration.

Author: Silvija Žužić | Lawyer Croatia | Law office Rijeka, Krk