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Procedure for arguing inheritance in Czech-Swedish families

25/09/2019

At Holubova Advokati we often come across international inheritance cases involving both the Czech Republic and Sweden. We therefore decided to add this article discussing the topic inheritance between the two countries, based on the model case in the previous general article on inheritance proceedings in Europe.

The testator is a dual Czech and Swedish citizen, living in Sweden, and is therefore habitually resident there. In addition to property in Sweden, this testator owns several properties in the Czech Republic, and several bank accounts with local banks. These properties and bank accounts form the subject of the inheritance of this testator.

According to the Regulation, the inheritance on the whole is to be decided by the courts (or other competent authority) of the Member State where the testator was habitually resident at the time of death, and normally under the law of that Member State.

Applying the Regulation to the above model example, the Swedish authorities will be entitled to deal with the entire inheritance of the testator under Swedish law. The informal approach in Sweden allows the heirs to mutually decide on the inheritance. In practice, inheritance will typically be dealt with by a lawyer or a familial jurist. He / she draws up a so-called bouppteckning list, which must be sent to the tax administrator (Skatteverket) within three months of the deceased's death. The court shall decide on the inheritance if and only if there is a dispute between the heirs.

After discussing and coming to an agreement regarding the inheritance, the heirs can proceed with its execution with the help of a European Certificate of Succession. The Swedish tax authority (Skatteverket) is empowered to issue the certificate in Sweden. For the issue of the certificate, the heirs will need the aforementioned list of estate (bouppteckning), which certifies their status as legal heirs, and their associated rights as heirs. The proposal for a certification is not an essential requirement, but can significantly facilitate and speed up the certification process.

Thereafter, in the Czech Republic, we will present the client's certificate as a legal title (a) to the respective banks for the transfer of ownership rights to bank accounts or funds held with them, and (b) to the relevant municipal office for the transfer of ownership of real estate. Care should be taken with the definition of the property, especially real estate as incorrect labeling often results in problems with the Czech authorities. We recommend that you seek the opinion of relevant experts with appropriate experience in this field for your specific requirements and procedures.