Lawyer Monthly - February 2023

the testator can only dispose within the available quota and respecting the compulsory portion. The reduction/elimination forms the main part of the present revision of the Swiss law of inheritance entering into force on 1 January 2023 (see below). What role do executors play? The testator may appoint one or several executors to execute the will and to administer the inheritance by using the same form in which the will was established. The executor has the same rights and duties as the official inheritance administrator. The appointment of an executor is especially warranted in large and complex inheritances with an international aspect and legal problems that the heirs may not be able to solve themselves. Also, their inability to reach the unanimous decisions required to administer and finalise the inheritance may be a reason to appoint one or more executors. (Art 518 and 554 Swiss Civil Code) What can effect a revocation of the will? The will may be revoked at any time by using the legal form in which it was established. If a new will replacing the old will is written, it is recommended to expressly revoke the old will in the new will. (Art. 509 ff. Swiss Civil Code) or another designated official and communicates his will to the notary or the official in the presence of two witnesses. The document thus established is dated and signed by all present and registered in the acts of the notary or the official. Handwritten Will (Art. 505 Swiss Civil Code) The testator writes his will by hand from the beginning to the end indicating place, year, month and day of the writing, signs it by hand and deposits it at the place indicated by the Cantonal law. Oral Will (Art. 506 – 508 Swiss Civil Code) The oral will is an emergency solution taking place in front of two witnesses, if the testator is incapable to proceed with a public or handwritten will in cases such as imminent death, breakdown of communications or epidemy. One of the witnesses writes down the contents and notes the place, year, day and hour and the circumstances of the incapacity, writing to be signed by the other witness. The witnesses deposit the writing without delay at the competent judicial authority. The oral will loses its validity 14 days after the testator has recovered his capacity and is again able to proceed with a public or handwritten will. What is the ‘compulsory portion’ and how does it affect the will? The content of the will is limited by the compulsory portion of the part of inheritance of close legal heirs. It may only be eliminated by disinheritance due to grave circumstances (Art. 477 Swiss Civil Code) or if the person entitled to the compulsory part has renounced on his right in a pact of inheritance in the form of a public will. (Art. 512 Swiss Civil Code) Without disinheritance or renunciation, 58 LAWYERMONTHLY FEBRUARY 2023 The principle is that existing wills stay valid after the new law comes into effect.

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