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Europe’s notaries pleased with the adoption of rules on cross-border successions

02/08/2012

National

Press Release

Brussels, 7 June 2012 – Europe’s notaries are pleased with the EU Council’s adoption on 7 June 2012 of regulations covering jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and execution of decisions and certified public deeds in matters of succession, as well as the creation of a European succession certificate. They are of the opinion that the new text represents considerable progress towards greater legal certainty for the thousands of families in Europe who have to deal with an international succession. Tilman Götte, President of the Council of Notariats of the European Union, considers that “the new regulation clarifies the rules applicable to international successions and provides greater legal certainty for citizens and their families. We are glad that the principle of ‘controlled autonomy’ has been retained: this means that the law applicable to the succession is that of the habitual residence of the deceased. At the same time, citizens are given the opportunity to plan their succession, choosing their own national law. We also recognise as positive the creation of a  European succession certificate which will constitute proof of the status of heir in all Member States and will considerably facilitate procedures for those having the right to inherit”.

Making the general public aware of this new legal instrument is now a priority for Europe’s notaries. To this end, they emphasise the usefulness of the site “Successions en Europe” (www.successions-europe.eu) which provides citizens with information on the inheritance laws of EU countries in no fewer than 23 languages. Regular updates will allow European citizens to find information on the new regulation in their language of choice. Furthermore, Europe’s notaries stand ready to assist European institutions in any way possible in publicity campaigns aimed at informing the public about the new rules and their implications for the planning and regulation of inheritance.

In order for the deceased’s intentions to be respected, Europe’s notaries emphasise the importance of having easy access to his or her last will and testament, especially in a cross-border context. For that reason, Europe’s notaries support the project to interconnect the national registers of wills being implemented by ARERT (Association du Réseau Européen des Registres de Testaments, www.arert.eu), which will allow a notary to access a foreign registry by way of his own national registry.

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