Division of an inheritance

In spite of the sadness of the occasion, when a family member dies many matters must be arranged. Bank matters must be settled, the pension provider or other benefit agencies must be informed, the rental agreement must be terminated or subscriptions must be cancelled, etcetera. And the division of inheritance? This must also be arranged. An overview of what the inheritance of the deceased comprises of must be drawn up. What is the balance of the bank accounts? What household effects did the deceased have? Have insurances been paid out? Is there an owner-occupied dwelling which must possibly be sold? Are there any debts? The estate comprises of the value of all possessions and debts of the deceased. It must be taken into consideration that if the deceased was married in a community of property, the inheritance comprises of half of the total assets of the couple.


The beneficiaries have the right to a part of the inheritance. If there is only one beneficiary, the division of the inheritance is simple: this beneficiary will receive the entire inheritance. If there is no last will and testament, the law will determine who the beneficiaries are. If the deceased (also referred to as the testator) has had a last will and testament drawn up prior to his or her death, this last will and testament may derogate from the statutory rules which determine who the beneficiaries are. It is therefore important to apply for any last will and testament to check who the beneficiaries are. It can be checked in Central Register of Wills if the deceased has had a last will and testament drawn up. The Central Register of Wills is a database which keeps up-to-date records of who has had a last will and testament drawn up, and when and with which civil-law notary this took place. The register therefore offers access to the contents of the last will and testament. An interested party can thereupon request a copy (of a part of a copy) from the civil-law notary concerned. The beneficiaries can, in consultation with each other, personally proceed with the payment of debts and the division of the property. The testator may also have appointed a person in the last will and testament who must settle the estate. This person is called the executor and he/she will further arrange for the division of the estate. This division of the estate must take place in consultation with all beneficiaries. Unfortunately, it is evident from practice that this can regularly cause arguments between the beneficiaries. However, an inheritance cannot be divided without an agreement between all beneficiaries. It is possible that the court appoints an administrator, who will have the duty of settling the inheritance if the beneficiaries cannot reach agreement about this. If it is not possible for the beneficiaries to reach agreement, the court can divide the inheritance on request of (a part of) the beneficiaries. The family law specialists of AK Advocaten can assist you during division proceedings, in the course of which we take your interests as our guiding principle.


During the division of the estate, various aspects can form a stumbling block. For example, there could be a case of disinheritance. The disinheritance of the spouse or of one or more of the children can cause a painful situation. If the person who is disinherited agrees to this, this person will not receive anything from the inheritance. However, the disinherited person can also make claim to his or her legitimate statutory share (a kind of minimum share), as a result of which this person receives a monetary claim against the beneficiaries. Furthermore, donations or gifts which one of the beneficiaries has received in the past can cause discussions during the division of the inheritance. AK Advocaten offers the possibility of mediation in order to bring those discussions to a satisfactory conclusion. If mediation is not an option, we can assist you during legal proceedings. If you would like to find out more about how our family law lawyers can assist you during the division of the estate and all matters involved thereby, then please do not hesitate to contact us. Please contact us. Family Law