Testament and Disposal of Estate.

Estate planning. Regulations and options.

In Switzerland, issues of inheritance are thoroughly regulated by law. The question is whether the legal regulations align with your personal expectations of who will be your heirs one day and who will receive how much and what. By taking your estate planning into your own hands, you can ensure that your personal wishes are carried out exactly as expressed. Learn more about the statutory regulations as well as the options you do have when it comes to passing on your estate.

What does estate planning involve?

Those who do not want the statutory regulations to apply can make individual arrangements. People in Switzerland have a variety of instruments at their disposal: a marriage contract or property agreement, a last will, or an inheritance contract. Careful estate planning is supplemented with arrangements concerning pension assets, insurance policies, or asset transfers during an individual's lifetime.

Planning your estate early. The benefits.

Those who get an early start on their estate planning have the major advantage of being able to involve their family. Ensuring that you communicate with all your family members at an early stage and with transparency makes the situation clear and minimizes conflict. The heirs will have the opportunity to ask questions, and the individual planning their estate will have the reassuring certainty that their affairs have been settled and discussed with the future heirs. Inheritance cases often remind people of old feelings and unresolved situations. Such issues, especially those involving difficult circumstances, can often be dealt with while the estate planner is still alive.

Another key advantage of early estate planning is the option to give a person advances on their inheritance during your lifetime. This always makes sense if a portion of the estate is no longer needed and it would provide the beneficiary with an advantage. It may also be possible to optimize inheritance and gift taxes if these issues are addressed early.

Furthermore, those who distribute parts of their estate during their lifetimes should also consider that life expectancy and the expenses associated with it are constantly increasing. As a result, this money may be able to be put to good personal use later.

It is also a good idea to deal with the issue of estate planning early if you live in cohabitation. This is because, without a last will, your partner will not be considered during the division of your estate.

Inheritance planning – it's better to not put it off until later

Swiss marital property law and inheritance law explained in two minutes.

Avoiding family conflicts when drawing up your will

Heirs and inheritances can be a highly emotional topic. These tips can help you to avoid potential conflicts.

Keep the lines of communication open
If a testator has multiple children and one of them receives an advancement, then all of the other children should be made aware that this portion will be deducted from the later inheritance. Blended families can create challenging situations, for example, because only the biological children are entitled to inherit. If the partner's children are intended to become beneficiaries, they will need to be explicitly named as heirs or legatees in the testator's will.

Get an executor involved
An executor is a freely appointed person who handles all administrative matters after the death of the testator and finds compromises to any disputes. This takes some of the burden off the family and prevents conflicts from occurring.

Is there enough money to take care of you in your old age?
It is also a good idea to consider gifts and advances carefully so you can afford other things as you grow older. Taking out a loan that you are required to pay back is one option.

Pay attention to changes in your will
If you draw up a new will to replace the previous one, the old will needs to be destroyed. The old will should not be destroyed, of course, if the new version merely complements the previous will. In the event of your death, all parties are required to submit all existing wills to the authorities for reading.

Preparing a living will or an advance directive
One important question is who should be assigned responsibility in the event you become mentally incapacitated? We advise making this determination while you still possess your complete mental faculties. Living wills and advance directives are two instruments that cover different situations in life.

  • Living will: covers all medical issues. It specifies what medical actions should be taken if you can no longer make decisions for yourself.
  • Advance directive: covers the areas of personal care, wealth management, and legal representation.

Estate planning is a continuous process

As a rule, you should review your estate plan every time there is a change in the situation concerning your family or career. Examples include getting married, starting a family, or getting divorced.

With professional advice, you can ensure that everything is taken into account and drawn up correctly. You can contact a specialist, notary, or attorney to take care of this. With its longstanding experience and expertise, Credit Suisse is always on hand to assist you.