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Parents to have more say over inheritance

10:11 18/11/2014

As it is now in Belgium, the biggest portion of your assets following your death automatically goes to your children. But that is about to change, according to Minister of Justice Koen Geens (CD&V). Geens is working on a relaxation of the inheritance law in Belgium.

Parents who draw up a will currently have little choice when it comes to who will receive what after they are gone. With or without a will, assets are divided equally among the children of the deceased. In other words, you are required by law to give the majority of your estate to your children. If you have only one child, then he or she gets half of your assets, and you are free to do as you please with the other half.

The portion you are allowed to distribute at leisure decreases as you have more children. Should you decide to leave a larger part of your assets to a new partner or stepchild, for example, you can write that in your will, but your children can always veto it.

The law is not adapted to modern society. "And that is why there should be more freedom of choice," says Geens, who will propose an adaptation of the inheritance law today in parliament. "The current legislation is very outdated. Times have changed, as has the modern family.”

Written by Robyn Boyle

Comments

adyepj

About time too! He's right, the current legislation is totally outdated. Let's hope he'll introduce some enlightened legislation.

Nov 18, 2014 14:10
acsonline

Utter and complete rubbish! Prof. Geens is much liked and respected, but this time he's off the mark. One may even wonder what brought about such a stance, other than giving parents the opportunity of making a clean slate of 'past errors' in procreation and encourage favouritism. Children aren't 'possessions' : they are people in their own right. The decision can be 'vetoed'? Sure, and some 10 to 12 years later there will be a status quo anyway. Preposterous to the point of foolish!

Nov 18, 2014 19:26
gellis

Leona Helmsley, on her death at the age of 87, from her $4 billion estate, left two of her grandchildren $10 million each, stipulating that they visit the grave of their deceased father once a year (on pain of forfeiture of their inheritence), disinherited the other two grandchildren "for the reasons known to them", and most controversially, left $12 million to her beloved dog, "Trouble". I bet some people wished they lived in Belgium...

Nov 19, 2014 01:50
acsonline

Assets often get discreetly distributed by parents during their lifetime anyway; usually to the issue of the last marriage /relationship. Leaving the children of any former union doubly out in the cold under new presumed law. Up to now, it had not been possible to entirely and legally disinherit a child in Belgium. Are “reviewed policies” to make it possible? – As to leaving assets to your dog ( considering what some ‘close relatives’ can be up to…) won’t surprise many a dog owner, I bet! And there isn’t a thing anyone (including clever politicians) can do about it!

Nov 20, 2014 14:41