Since 17th August 2015 the EU Succession Regulations affect all individuals who have assets in the EU.
Many European countries dictate how an individual must pass assets on death, as opposed to allowing them to choose their preferred beneficiaries through a Will. So-called ‘forced heirship’ applies to many European countries and those with assets such as holiday homes and money held abroad need to be aware.
Under the Regulations an individual’s estate is governed by the country in which they are ‘habitually resident’ unless they are manifestly more closely linked with another country or have chosen to apply the law of their nationality instead.
The simplest way of ensuring which law governs your assets and estate is to make a Will and expressly stating in a Will which law you wish to govern your foreign assets.
Although the UK is set to leave the EU in 2019, the UK did not opt into the regulations. As such, UK nationals with assets in EU countries are still able to determine whether UK law or the law of the land in which assets are held should apply. But without a Will, there could well be ambiguity as to which succession rules apply.
If you have assets abroad, please contact Peter Norris at Hassall Law on (01548) 854 878 for advice to ensure your chosen beneficiaries inherit rather than risk a foreign country deciding.