Commencement of an inheritance estate

Succession commences on the death of the deceased. Insofar as dispositions and divisions made during the deceased’s lifetime are relevant under law of succession, they are taken into account according to the condition of the estate as at the time of his or her death.

On the death of the deceased, the estate in its entirety passes by law to the heirs. Subject to statutory exceptions, the deceased’s claims, rights of ownership, limited rights in rem and rights of possession automatically pass to the heirs and the debts of the deceased become the personal debts of the heirs.

The legal and named heirs are entitled to disclaim the inheritance passing to them. Nevertheless, there is a presumption of a disclaimer if at the time of his or her death the deceased had been officially declared insolvent or was manifestly insolvent. The time limit for a disclaimer is three months since the statutory heirs learned of the death, unless they can show that they did not learn of their succession rights until later, and for named heirs, from the date they received official notification of the testator’s dispositions.

If an inventory has been drawn up as a precautionary measure, the disclaimer time limit for all heirs begins on the date on which the authority notified them that the inventory was complete.

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This website aims to provide general information regarding Swiss law and should not be regarded as a legal opinion. For more specific advice, do not hesitate to contact us.