Due to Switzerland’s federal structure, there is no centralized tax system valid for all cantons. As a consequence, tax legislation varies considerably from one canton to another, both in terms of core stipulations and tax rates and tarifs.
From a fiscal point of view, there should generally be no difference whether a person transfers assets during his/her lifetime or in the estate after the death.
Inheritance taxes and gift taxes, if any, are levied at cantonal levels. In Geneva, for instance, since 1st June 2004, there are neither inheritance taxes nor gift taxes on assets transmitted by succession or by donation inter vivos, to the extent that the transfer takes place between a deceased/donator and his/her descendants or ascendants or in the favour of the surviving spouse or the registered partner, unless the deceased/donator is or was in the benefit of a lump sum taxation.
Nevertheless, after the transfer of the assets, the heir or the donee will be subject to wealth taxes, which are imposed at a cantonal level on the aggregate value of the net asset of the individual.
Potentially, the heir or the donee could be taxed on capital gains on real estate transactions.
Please note that these are very general considerations and that more accurate information can be provided to you concerning your individual case.