Last will – 12 tips

How to Write a Will. The 12 Most Important Tips.

Does a will have to be handwritten? Can I disinherit my children? How do I ensure that my wife can continue to live in our house after my death?

Take note of these 12 tips and you can be sure that your wishes will be put into practice.

1. Form

Draw up your will in person by hand – including the place, date, and your signature. If you are concerned that your descendants might question your capacity to make a rational judgment, have your will publicly certified. Remember to include the date – especially if you have drawn up several wills during your life.

2. Compulsory Portions

Take the statutory compulsory portions into account.
Surviving spouse: ½ of his/her share of inheritance; descendants: ¾ of their shares of inheritance. If there are no descendants, parents can also inherit. Each of their compulsory portions is ½ of their statutory claim to an inheritance.

3. Passing On Assets

If you wish, you can bequeath the compulsory portions to the legal heirs and name someone else as the heir for the divisible portion. You can also leave a bequest to any individual or organization you like in the amount of the freely disposable portion. Make a note in your will of the name, address, date of birth, type of legacy (sum of money or object).

4. Safekeeping

Place your will in an envelope and keep it in a safe place so that it can be submitted to the relevant office after your death. Each canton has identified a place where wills can be deposited (e.g. notary's office, municipality). If you keep it at home, make sure that it is easy to find and will not be destroyed. Of course, you could also give it to a trusted individual for safekeeping. Make a note here where your will is located. Instructions in the Event of Death (can be completed online).

5. Changes

Change your will whenever and as often as you want. Destroy your previous will or replace it with a new one if you want to cancel the old will. Note: If the new will can be understood to be complementary to the previous will, both wills remain in effect.

6. Usufruct

If you want your spouse to be able to continue living in your jointly owned house or apartment, make provision for residential rights or a lifelong right of usufruct.

7. Disinheriting

You can only disinherit a person entitled to a compulsory portion if that person has committed a serious criminal offense against you or an associated person, or if that person has seriously breached his/her obligations under family law.

8. Legacy

If you wish, you can bequeath something to someone without naming that person as an heir. For example, cash sums or material assets. Other possibilities are the usufruct of a property or releasing someone from a liability.

9. Foundation

If you wish, you can bequeath all or part of the freely disposable part of your estate to a charitable foundation. You may choose freely what the purpose of the foundation is.

10. Division

Make a record of how your assets are to be divided. For example, I leave my yacht "Sonnenschein" to my son Hannes, I leave my vacation home "Alpenglühn" to my daughter Franziska. With such instructions for dividing the inheritance, it is a good idea to specify in your will the sums that are to be taken into account.

11. Compensation

People who have already received gifts from you during your life (dowry, assets, debt relief) must have these taken into account in their share of the inheritance. Make a note in your will if you do not wish this to happen.

12. Executor

Name a person as your executor if you fear that there could be disputes between the heirs, or if you prefer that your estate is settled by a neutral person outside the family.

Inheritance Planning: Swiss Marital Property Law and Inheritance Law in Brief. 

This video explains the most important Swiss laws and shows why it is important to start estate planning early.

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