Family and Succession law

Estate settlement

When a person passes away, his or her estate (which comprises all his property and debts) is inherited by his or her heirs through a settlement. There will be bills to be paid and debts to be claimed. Possessions must be distributed, and an inheritance tax return must be filed. All such activities fall under the heading of ‘estate settlement’ or ‘winding up’ the estate. Our notary firm assists you every step of the way.

Who does what when it comes to estate settlement?

Estate settlement is the process of settling the financial affairs after someone passes away. In principle, it is the heirs who are responsible for winding up the estate. Those heirs may be named in the deceased’s last Will. If there is no Will, the deceased is said to have died ‘intestate.’ The estate passes to relatives in an order of priority established by law, which is called the law of succession. The Will may name an executor and/or an estate settlement administrator. If not, and if there is more than one heir, the heirs may issue a power of attorney authorizing one of their own number or a third party to wind up the estate. It is also possible to arrange certain kinds of agreements in a cohabitation agreement.

What does estate settlement involve?

To determine the size and composition of the estate, it is useful to prepare an inventory describing all property, outstanding claims, liabilities, and more comprised in the estate. The heirs will wish to know precisely what the estate includes before they can decide whether to accept it. Once it is known who will indeed accept, a certificate of succession can be issued. This establishes the various parties’ entitlement to the estate and identifies the persons who may administer and wind up the estate and to whom organizations and government agencies may provide information. Kooijman Autar is a notary firm in Rotterdam that assists you with this.

Estate settlement involves considerable administrative work, such as correspondence with banks and government agencies, cancelling subscriptions, paying off debts and collecting any outstanding claims. This becomes even more complicated with a foreign Will.

An estate settlement also settles mortgage, debt, businesses, and other investments

There are some components of an estate settlement which demand particular attention: the deceased’s home and any outstanding mortgage debt, his or her business, and any investment portfolio, for example. And finally, an inheritance tax return must be filed with the tax authorities. Settling an estate often takes between one year and eighteen months. This period can be longer or shorter, depending on the complexity of the estate.


Schedule an appointment for more information on an estate

Please contact us if you require further information about the settlement of an estate. We shall be pleased to offer advice on your specific situation. You can call us on +31 (0)10 285 88 88 to schedule an appointment with one of our family law attorneys.



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