Tax and inheritance law
In Switzerland, inheritance law is governed at a cantonal level, and may differ depending on the canton in which you live. The taxes relating to inheritance may also vary depending on the relationship between the heirs and the deceased. For example, in the canton of Geneva, direct heirs do not pay tax on inheritance; this is not the case in the canton of Vaud.
Our legal and tax advisors are specialists in inheritance law and possess a perfect knowledge of its intricacies. They are available to help you handle the administrative and tax obligations related to an inheritance:
You wish to organise your inheritance in advance, during your lifetime:
- We can assist you in drafting your will or inheritance agreements, which we can then keep for you until they are transferred to a notary or justice de Paix after your death to ensure that your last wishes are carried out correctly.
- You can also name one of our legal and tax advisors as executor of your will. In this case, they will compile an inheritance inventory which will be used to draft the inheritance declaration. They will ensure effective management of the assets concerned by inheritance, will settle all outstanding debts and will fulfil the tax and administrative obligations relating to a death, such as the inheritance declaration and the final tax declaration for the deceased.
- The role of executor of a will only ends when all of these obligations have been met and the division of inheritance has been completed amongst the heirs. In order to carry out their role as executor successfully, our legal and tax advisors remain fully independent with regards to the heirs.
You inherit assets following the death of somebody close to you:
- If the inheritance inventory reveals non-declared assets belonging to the deceased, you can regularise the situation by completing a simplified declaration for heirs. This procedure is intended to regularise the non-declared assets of the deceased, without risking a fine. The FTA will investigate the tax file and issue a decision regarding additional payment due over the past three years by calculating the corresponding default interest.
- You must then complete the inheritance declaration based on the inheritance inventory and perhaps pay death duties, divided between all of the heirs. The inheritance declaration must be transmitted to the tax authority along with all supporting documents, within three months following the day of the death. An extension may be granted by the administration for this deadline.
- You must also file the tax declaration for the deceased for the period of the year during which the person was liable to tax, notably from 1st January until the day of his/her death. This declaration must be submitted to the tax authority independently of the inheritance declaration or the simplified declaration for heirs.
The legal and tax advisors at Bonnefous & Cie are available to assist you throughout this process in order to safeguard your inheritance for your loved ones and ensure conformity with legal provisions. Contact us by email or on +41 22 906 110 77.