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Do you have a holiday home in Europe?

Do you have a holiday home in Europe?

The European Council passed legislation in July 2012 that comes into effect on 17 August 2015, which will go some way to unifying the laws of succession across the European Union. This is commonly known as “Brussels IV” and although the UK has opted out, it applies to all states that have implemented the legislation. Therefore, if you have a second home in say France or Spain then this may provide you with a significant benefit if you are a British national.

In a number of European countries, there are forced heirship rules that mean that you cannot freely leave some or all of your estate as you wish. Instead, the state in which the property is located directs how the asset passes on your death, often in favour of children over spouses. As a result, people buying property abroad are often advised to make a Will in that country to deal with those assets to ensure that they pass in accordance with the forced heirship rules.

The legislation means that it is the law of the country in which the deceased was “habitually resident” that directs how his estate passes. To make it clear, you should include an express election in your Will stating that the law of your nationality is to apply to your foreign property. This means that ensuring that Inheritance Tax allowances apply will be more straightforward, and will also mean that the forced heirship rules can be avoided for property in those countries that implement the legislation.

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We are here to help you protect your assets and ensure that your beneficiaries are properly provided for after you’ve gone. Contact IBB's experienced wills and trusts solicitors today to discuss your inheritance tax and estate planning issue. Call us today on 01494 790002 or email jacqueline.almond@ibblaw.co.uk.