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Standard forms make cross-border successions simpler

10-12-2014

Citizens will soon be able to use one set of forms for their inheritance rights when a family member with property in another EU Member State passes away. Among these forms is the European Certificate of Succession,which will make it much easier for heirs to assert their rights in other Member States. These forms complete the set of tools available under the Regulation on Successions (see IP/12/851).

Věra Jourová, EU Justice Commissioner said, "I am delighted that the 450,000 European families dealing with an international succession each year will benefit from the simpler and lighter procedures across Europe. The new rules on Successions have been a huge step forward for civil justice cooperation in the EU, and these simplified, pan-European forms complete the picture."

The easy-to-use standardised forms will be available to citizens as of 17 August 2015 on the e-justice Portal – the one-stop-shop for justice in the EU – along with information sheets on succession law and procedures in each Member State, which are currently being prepared by the European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters . In the meantime, legal practitioners are encouraged to get familiar with these forms which were adopted by the Commission on 9 December 2014.

The forms are published in the Official Journal.

Background

On 27 July 2012, new EU rules to ease cross-border successions became law (IP/12/851). Under the regulation, there is a single criterion for determining both the jurisdiction of the authorities and the law applicable to a cross-border succession: the deceased's habitual place of residence. People living abroad will, however, be able to opt to have the law of their country of nationality apply to the entirety of their succession.

Once the rules apply fully as of 17 August 2015, there will be legal certainty for the estimated 450,000 European families dealing with an international succession each year. The result will be faster and cheaper procedures, saving people time and money in legal fees. With over 12.3 million EU citizens resident in another EU country, the rules are likely to be of interest to many more in the future.