In the absence of a will, who inherits and how much?
Last update: 10/7/2012
Where there is no will, the following principles apply to the various scenarios, such as:
- If the deceased was unmarried and without children, his/her father and mother each receive a quarter and the rest is divided between the brothers and sisters. If there are no brothers or sisters, the whole of the estate passes to the parents. If there are no parents, the whole estate passes to the brothers and sisters, otherwise, and if there are no preferential collateral relatives, half of the estate will pass to the ascendants of each line or to the closest collateral relatives in each line.
- If the deceased was unmarried and leaves children, the estate will be divided equally between the children.
- If the deceased leaves a spouse, the latter becomes the sole heir in the absence of direct descendants.
- If the deceased leaves a spouse and children, then the spouse may choose between the right to inhabit the family home and use the furniture in it or a full ownership share equal to that of the children with at least a quarter. The rest is shared equally between the children.
Do partners of a registered or unregistered partnership inherit?
Civil partnerships can be concluded between two same-sex or opposite-sex partners. The laws of Luxembourg do not grant automatic inheritance rights to the surviving partner of a registered civil partnership.
Thus, in the event of the death of one of the partners, the surviving partner only inherits if there are dispositions in a will to that effect.
The surviving partner of a unregistered union has no entitlement to inheritance. He/she only inherits if there are testamentary provisions to that effect.
Since the reform introduced by the law of 26 April 1979, the hierarchy between orders of heirs, which is more or less mutually exclusive, is as follows:
- The surviving spouse
- Ascendants and privileged collateral relatives
- Ordinary ascendants
- Ordinary collateral relatives
As descendants are privileged heirs, they exclude all other heirs, except for the surviving spouse. There are 3 possible scenarios:
- Descendants with surviving spouse: if there are several children, they are equal and shall each be entitled to an equal portion of the estate. However, if one of the children is predeceased and leaves children, these will inherit by right of representation.
- Surviving spouse alone: the spouse excludes all other orders of heirs and in the absence of descendants of the spouse, he or she will inherit the entire estate.
- Descendant with surviving spouse: if the deceased leaves children and a surviving spouse, the latter is entitled, either to a legitimate child’s portion of the estate which is equivalent to at least a quarter of the succession, or to the enjoyment of the marital home and its furniture provided that the said marital home is part of the succession. The surviving spouse has 3 months and 40 days from the opening of the succession to make their choice. If the surviving spouse wishes to opt for a child’s portion of the estate, they must file a declaration with the clerk of the court in the district where the succession process is opened.
What rights do partners of a registered or non-registered partnership have in a succession?
The law of 9 July 2004 does not grant succession rights to surviving partners of partnerships. Partners are however free to make inter vivos transfer or to make a provision in their will in favour of their surviving partner, provided of course that they respect the provisions of the Civil Code of Luxembourg on gifts and wills (mainly the rules establishing the portion of a legacy legally reserved for rightful heirs).
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Successions in Luxembourg
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