Keys of the EU Succession Regulation

One of the most significant legislative developments for our work as international inheritance lawyers in recent years is European Union (EU) Regulation 650/2012, which for the first time introduced an EU-wide framework for laws regarding succession by reason of death. The document came into force in August 2015 for all EU countries except the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark. In this article, we’d like to review some of the key implications of this regulation.

The key objective of this regulation is to establish a clear criterion to determine which nation’s laws are applicable to a succession proceeding. By default, it establishes that succession proceedings should be governed by the law of the habitual residence of the deceased at the time of their death. In this regard, it should be noted that the regulation is universally applicable; i.e. this condition applies to all citizens residing within EU territory, even if they are citizens of a non-member state.

However, the text also considers what is known as professio iuris: the citizen’s ability to choose the law applicable to their future succession, in this case being able to stipulate that it be the country of their nationality instead of their country of residence, even if the chosen law is not that of an EU member state. This is a choice that, in turn, will determine the planning they can do in regards to their will.

It is interesting to pause and consider the scope of its application: the regulation emphasizes that the national law determined to be applicable “shall govern the succession as a whole”. Thus, only one criterion will be applied, regardless of whether the assets of the deceased or the beneficiaries of the inheritance can be found in different countries. Of course, the application of possible restrictions established by special provisions of the laws of the states where their properties, businesses and other special categories of assets are located is considered.

At ICN LEGAL, we have knowledge and experience that enables us to competently work as international inheritance lawyers. We’ll know how to offer you detailed legal assistance based on the nature of the proceeding you’re immersed in.

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