The distribution of the estate after the departure of the individual can be made with or without a will, in each case by observing the provisions of the Dutch Inheritance Law. When the heirs or the surviving partners have been wronged during the process of distributing the assets, they may take legal action. Beneficiaries have several situations in which they can contest a will in the Netherlands.
One of our Dutch lawyers can assist you in any issue related to inheritance in the country and for challenging a will.
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Valid wills in the Netherlands
The first and foremost condition for a will to be valid in the Netherlands is to observe the country’s rules for inheritance or the rules in the testator’s country of origin, in case of expats living in the Netherlands.
There are two common types of wills which may be used in the Netherlands: the notarial will and the holographic will. The first is drawn up by a notary in the presence of the testator and registered with the Dutch authorities and the latter is drawn up by the testator himself who then leaves the will with a notary for safekeeping.
When there is no will, the estate is distributed first to the surviving spouse or partner and the children or, if there are no children and a partner, between the parents and the siblings. The last to have the right to claim estate are the grandparents. Individuals who have been left out of the will or those who were entitled to inheritance under the law may contest the Dutch will.
The Dutch law also includes provisions for forced heirship. Those heirs who do not want to accept the inheritance may contest the will. One of the experts at our Dutch law firm can give you more details on mandatory heirship in the country.
Grounds for challenging wills in the Netherlands
The following are recognized grounds for challenging a will in the Netherlands:
– unworthy heirs (for example if the heir has threatened or endangered the testator);
– faulty interpretation of the will and faulty construction;
– the testator was incapacitated when the will was drawn up.
While the unworthy heir situation is less encountered in practice, another motive for challenging the will may be an erroneous assumption, or mistakes, due to a lack of information on the part of the testator at the time, which may have determined him to proceed otherwise.
Litigation based on the interpretation of the will remains one of the most common grounds for challenging the will.
One of the experts at our law firm in the Netherlands can help you with legal representation in all cases involving inheritance. Contact us for legal assistance.