The law in the Netherlands sets forth the main principles of heirship, however, the specific wishes of the individual passing on the assets are not always considered. For this purpose, will preparation in Netherlands is a certain way of ensuring who is entitled to assets after your departure.
Individuals may find it helpful to talk to a professional before drawing up their will or testament. One of the experts at our Dutch law firm can assist you during this process.
Table of Contents
Types of wills in Netherlands
Generally, two main forms are used as wills in Netherlands:
- Holographic will. It is written and signed by the testator by hand. If someone else writes it on the testator’s behalf, the testator must sign each page. To ensure its validity, the holographic will must be deposited with a civil law notary who certifies the deposit of the will. We can help you make a will in Netherlands, regarding of its type;
- Notarial will. It is dictated by the testator to a notary, who ensures that the will complies with Dutch legal standards. The notarial will is then registered with the Central Register of Wills on the first following working day. To be considered valid under Dutch law, this type of will also requires the involvement of a civil law notary. Our law firm in Netherlands can provide notarial services for you.
There is a special type of will called “codicil of will” which refers to a separate handwritten and signed document that allows a person to specifically bequeath certain personal belongings like clothing, jewelry, books, or household items. The codicil is a legal way to provide more personalized instructions for the distribution of these specific assets.
In some emergency situations, such as during times of war or civil conflict, there may be an urgent need to make a will in Netherlands. In such cases, officers of the armed forces can act as witnesses to these “emergency wills.” These officers can confirm that the will was created and signed under the necessary circumstances, even if it doesn’t follow the standard procedures.
Our attorneys in Netherlands can advise you which type of will is best for your situation.
Are joint wills allowed in Netherlands?
No, the Dutch law does not recognize joint wills. A joint will should be a single document that combines the wills of multiple individuals, often spouses or partners.
However, wills in Netherlands must be created separately, to ensure that each person’s unique wishes and assets are clearly outlined and legally binding. Joint wills can be more complicated to enforce and may not provide the same level of clarity and specificity as individual wills.
We can help spouses or partners create their own separate wills, through our Dutch law firm.
The Dutch Inheritance Law
The Dutch Inheritance Law allows individuals to establish their heirs but only when a will or succession by will is prepared. If this document is now drawn up, then the succession will be determined as per the law.
When there is no will present, only blood relatives and spouses are entitled to inherit the assets, the children and the spouse have priority over other groups of relatives such as brothers or sisters. The children have the right to receive a fixed amount of the inheritance, also referred to as a statutory claim.
Foreign investors in the Netherlands may use the provisions of the foreign inheritance laws and the international private law if they prepare their will in the Netherlands.
Our team of Dutch lawyers is able to help you draw up the will.
Disinheriting spouses or children
It is possible to disinherit your children or spouse through your will in Netherlands.
Before making a will in Netherlands, one should know that children hold a special status under inheritance law. They are always entitled to a portion of their parents’ estate, regardless of their relationship with their parents. The only exception is if the children agree to be disinherited.
Disinherited spouses do not have a right to a legitimate portion like children do. However, they have other rights, including the right to continue using the marital home and furnishings for a period of up to six months if necessary for their care.
More legal advice on disinheritance can be offered by our team of Dutch lawyers. We also provide support in case of contesting a will.
Drawing up a will in the Netherlands
According to law, wills in the Netherlands are valid if they are drawn up before a notary public. A subsequent registration of the will is mandatory.
The authentic will is drawn up by the notary in the presence of the testator and the contents of the document shall remain confidential until the departure of the testator.
The will may contain provisions about guardianship for the children, the distribution of the estate, the property abroad (if any), succession planning for company owners in the Netherlands and even the disinheritance of certain individuals.
To make a will in Netherlands, specific information is needed, including:
- The testator’s full name and first name;
- The testator’s date and place of birth;
- Address of the testator;
- Type of will (holographic/notarial);
- Date of the will’s creation;
- Date of the will’s registration;
- Details of the depository public authority.
One of the experts at our law firm in the Netherlands can help you with will preparation as per your indications and wishes.
If you want to discover more about inheritance in Netherlands, you might find these statistics provided by Statistic Netherlands interesting:
- In the year 2020, the total value of assets that were inherited was 27,992.5 million euros;
- The total value of financial assets was 9,114.9 million euros;
- Real estate assets valued 13,806.4 million euros.
Contact us for more information on inheritance and specialized legal advice.