A new web to facilitate access to multilingual information on succession law

About 450.000 international successions occur every year in the European Union representing more than 120 billion Euro. The legal fact originated from the succession of EU citizens owning properties in different member states has now a new tool which provides relevant information both for citizens and legal practitioners.

About 9 million people are now enjoying the benefits of free movement rights and living outside their home countries, a phenomenon which originates around 450.000 international successions every year.

The multilingual website about EU succession provides answers to the main questions raised during an international succession. For example, citizens could find out which authority would be competent and which law would apply, if it is possible to choose the applicable law and who the heirs are. For legal practitioners, there will also be detailed reports on succession law available in English, French and German.

This source of information is the result of a project promoted by the Council of the Notariats of the EU, with the support of the European Commission, funded under Programme on civil justice for the period 2007-2013 of the European Commission, which received an EU contribution of about 158.400 € of the 280.000 € cost of the project.

Law of succession and free movement of people

This web is presented after the Commission's proposal made on October 2010 for a Regulation to simplify the settlement of international successions. Under the Regulation, there would be a single criterion for determining both the jurisdiction of the authorities and the law applicable to a cross-border succession: the deceased's habitual place of residence. People living abroad will, however, be able to opt to have the law of their country of nationality apply to the entirety of their succession.

The proposal is an example of how the EU works towards creating an area of justice that will ease citizens' daily lives, as set out by Vice-President Reding on 20 April 2010 in an action plan for 2010-2014.

EU Justice Ministers, during a meeting on 4 June 2010 in Luxembourg, underlined the importance of the proposed Regulation, whose negotiations are still ongoing in the Council.