Transnational inheritance

02-03-2010

The EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights includes the right to ""own, use, dispose of and bequeath property"". However, problems arise when an individual has links to more than one Member State. It can be difficult even to establish which national laws on succession apply to their estate. That matters greatly, since national laws, based on traditions dating back centuries, vary enormously. National laws may, therefore, produce very different effects in the same succession case. As international efforts have not succeeded in easing such problems, the Commission has adopted a proposal for a Regulation. It would ensure a uniform approach in the EU to establishing which national succession laws apply, and which courts have jurisdiction. Moreover, it would make it simpler for heirs and beneficiaries to take possession of their property outside their own country of residence. However, given the sensitivity of these issues, many Member States are seeking changes to the proposal to reduce conflicts with their own national systems.

The EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights includes the right to ""own, use, dispose of and bequeath property"". However, problems arise when an individual has links to more than one Member State. It can be difficult even to establish which national laws on succession apply to their estate. That matters greatly, since national laws, based on traditions dating back centuries, vary enormously. National laws may, therefore, produce very different effects in the same succession case. As international efforts have not succeeded in easing such problems, the Commission has adopted a proposal for a Regulation. It would ensure a uniform approach in the EU to establishing which national succession laws apply, and which courts have jurisdiction. Moreover, it would make it simpler for heirs and beneficiaries to take possession of their property outside their own country of residence. However, given the sensitivity of these issues, many Member States are seeking changes to the proposal to reduce conflicts with their own national systems.