If you want to determine in advance what should happen to your assets upon your death, you can draw up a will and stipulate what you wish to leave to whom.
However, you are not entirely free to choose who gets what, since the order of inheritance is determined by law. Normally, the surviving spouse, children and grandchildren inherit everything. Next in line are parents, siblings and cousins. When settling the inheritance, the executor will first check whether there are any heirs in the first category. If not, heirs from the second category are considered. If there is no family, the entire estate goes to the state.
A will allows you to freely divide the remaining portion of your estate (i.e. the part that is not automatically allocated to your partner or children). You can decide to bequeath some of your assets to certain people and/or institutions like the University of Antwerp. If you have no children or family, it is advisable to draw up a will.
- Your will must be written, dated and signed by you personally.
- An 'authentic' or notarial will is drawn up by a notary.
- You then dictate the will to the notary in the presence of two witnesses.
- You sign the will and the notary registers it in the national register, keeping the original copy at their offices.
- A notarial will is recommended, because it cannot easily be disputed.
- An international will also requires the presence of a notary and two witnesses.
For more detailed information and specific advice, please consult testament.be. If you are considering drawing up a will, a bequest or an inheritance, it is always best to consult a notary. Feel free to contact us if you have any further questions.