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Acceptance of an inheritance in an unintended manner

When you accept an inheritance, you are personally liable for all debts of the deceased. Note: An inheritance can also be accepted tacitly, i.e. through certain actions.

Decision on acceptance or rejection of an inheritance

After the death of the testator, the entire property, i.e. assets and debts, passes directly to the heirs. However, this transfer is not yet definitive. Each heir has three months to decide whether to accept or disclaim the inheritance. During these three months (the period can be extended), the heirs can find out whether the inheritance is over-indebted and therefore a disclaimer is advisable.

Caution with interference in inheritance matters

Heirs must be careful about what actions they take regarding the inheritance before accepting or disclaiming it. The inheritance can be accepted not only by explicit acceptance or with the passing of the deadline, but also by certain actions.

An heir accepts the inheritance by implication if he interferes with the affairs of the inheritance, appropriates inheritance property (except for very minor or worthless property), or conceals such property.

An heir interferes if he/she performs acts that go beyond the mere administration of the inheritance or continuation of the testator’s business. Mere acts of administration or continuation of business are, for example, the payment of inheritance debts, the continuation of a business or the maintenance of a building. Whether a particular act is classified as interference depends on the individual case.

If an heir is unsure whether an act could qualify as interference, this should be clarified in advance.

AMATIN AG  Rechtsanwälte / Rechtsberatung  │  Attorneys at Law / Counselors  │  Conseiller Juridiques / Avocats

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