This regulation is not new but it is time to think about it and make a choice before it is too late.
The EU Succession Regulation harmonizes the conflict-of-law rules on cross-border successions of 24 members of the European Union («24 EU Member States») and is by operation of law directly applicable to all deaths on or after 17 August 2015.
The United Kingdom, Denmark and Ireland along with Switzerland and other third countries are not directly bound by it but are also affected.
Due to the expanding mobility of persons, more and more people take up residence abroad and own assets, which are located in various jurisdictions. Along with the diversity of both the substantive inheritance law rules and the conflict- of-law rules the legal obstacles in cross-border successions have increased. Legislative action by the EU to simplify the processing of cross-border successions within the EU has now led to the EU Succession Regulation (Regulation on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions and Acceptance and Enforcement of Authentic Instruments in matters of Succession and on the Creation of an European Certificate of Succession of 4 July 2012, No 650/2012).
The EU Succession Regulation mainly answers two important conflict-of-law questions: Firstly, which court is competent to deal with a cross-border succession and secondly, which law governs a cross-border succession? However, neither the substantive inheritance laws of the 24 EU Member States nor the fiscal aspects of international successions are affected.
The EU Succession Regulation has already entered into force on 16 August 2012 but in principle will only have direct effect on deaths on or after 17 August 2015. With regard to deaths before 17 August 2015 the 24 EU Member States will continue to apply their existing national conflict-of-law rules.
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