Book 4 Law of Succession
Title 4.1 General provisions
Article 4:1 Inheriting property
- 1. Heirs can inherit
property on the basis of an intestate succession or on the basis of the
last will of the deceased.
- 2. The statutory
provisions for intestate succession may be set aside by a last will which
provides for an appointment of heirs or a disinheritance.
Article 4:2 Order of death of two or more persons
- 1. When it is impossible to determine the order of death of two or more
persons, those persons are considered to have died at the same time, so
that none of them shall benefit from the estate of the other.
- 2. If an interested party, as a result of circumstances which are not
imputable to him, runs up against difficulties in proving the order of
death, then the court may several times grant him a delay, this as far
as reasonably may be expected that the proof can be provided within the
period of the delay.
Article 4:3 Unworthiness
- 1. Unworthy, by
operation of law, to take an advantage from the estate of the deceased
a. a person who has been irrevocably convicted
for taking the life of the deceased, for the attempt to kill him or for
the preparation of or taking part in such an offence;
b. a person who has been irrevocably convicted
for a deliberately committed offence against the deceased, for which,
according to the Dutch legal definition, a maximum imprisonment is set
of at least four years, or for an attempt to, a preparation of or a taking
part in committing such an offence;
c. a person of whom in an irrevocable court
decision has been established that he has slanderously accused the deceased
falsely of committing an offence for which, according to the Dutch legal
definition, a maximum imprisonment is set of at least four years;
d. a person who by physical act or by threat
has forced the deceased to make a last will or who through such means
has prevented the deceased from making a last will ;
e. a person who has stolen, concealed, destroyed
or falsified the last will of the deceased.
- 2. Rights, obtained in good faith by third
parties before the unworthiness was determined, are respected. However,
when objects are obtained gratuitously, the court may grant the rightful
claimants (proprietors) a reasonable compensation at the expense of him
who has enjoyed an advantage as a result.
- 3. The state of
unworthiness ends when the deceased unambiguously forgives the unworthy
person for his behaviour.
Article 4:4 Juridical acts in relation to a non-devolved estate
- 1. A juridical act, performed prior to the devolvement of the
deceased’s estate, is null and void as far as it has the intention
to obstruct a person in his freedom to exercise the rights and powers
granted to him under Book 4 of the Civil Code with regard to the estate
of the deceased.
- 2. Agreements intending to dispose of an
entire not yet devolved estate or of a proportional part thereof (future
share in such an estate) are null and void.
Article 4:5 Arrangement of payments
- 1. Upon the request of the debtor, the District Court may order that,
due to noteworthy reasons, a sum of money which is chargeable under Book
4 or, in connection with the division (apportionment) of the deceased’s
estate, under Title 3.7 of the Civil Code, needs to be paid only after
some time, either in one lump sum or in instalments, and either with or
without an ascertained interest. When such a request is made, the court
has to take into account the interests of both parties. The court may
grant the requested order on the condition that the debtor, within a certain
time, provides real or personal security, approved by the court, to ensure
that the principal sum and possible interests will be satisfied.
- 2. Upon the request of one or more parties, the same District Court
may change its court order, passed by virtue of the previous paragraph,
insofar this is justified in view of new circumstances, which were not
to be expected at the time on which the order was given.
Article 4:6 Valuation of the assets of the estate
In Book 4 'the value of the assets of the estate' means the value of these
assets immediately after the death of the deceased, without taking into
account a usufruct on behalf of the still living spouse to which the estate
may become subject under Section 1 or 2 of Title 3 of Book 4 of the Civil
Article 4:7 Debts of the deceased's estate
- 1. The debts of the deceased’s estate are:
a. the debts and liabilities of the deceased
which do not perish at his death, as far as they are not included under
point (i) of this paragraph;
b. the costs of the disposal of the dead (costs
of the funeral) as far as they are in concordance with the circumstances
of the deceased;
c. the costs of liquidation (winding up) of
the estate of the deceased, including the remunerations of the liquidator;
d. the costs to administer the deceased’s
estate, including the remunerations of the executor;
e. the tax liabilities which become chargeable
at the devolvement of the deceased’s estate, as far as they become
a debt of the heirs;
f. the debts which arise on account of the
application of Section 4.3.2 of this Book;
g. the debts resulting from a mandatory right
of a child, as forced heir, to a legitimate share in the estate of his
deceased parent, claimable under Article 4:80;
h. the debts resulting from a bequest which
the heirs have to satisfy from the assets of the deceased’s estate;
i. the debts due to gifts and other actions
which are considered to be a bequest by virtue of Article 4:126.
- 2. The debts of the deceased’s estate have to be satisfied successively
with due observance of the following order of priority:
1° the debts meant in paragraph 1 under point (a) up to and
including point (e);
2° the debts meant in paragraph 1 under point (f);
3° the debts meant in paragraph 1 under point (g).
When there are no debts as meant in paragraph 1 under point (f), then
firstly the debts meant in paragraph 1 under point (a) up to and including
point (c), and subsequently the debts meant in paragraph 1 under point
(d), (e) and (g), have to be satisfied with priority.
- 3. When the surviving parent, meant in Article 4:20, and the stepfather
or stepmother, meant in Article 4:22, have died, the obligation to transfer
assets as referred to in those Articles, shall have, within their estates,
the same priority as a debt meant in paragraph 1 under point (a) of the
Article 4:8 Equation of registered partnership with
- 1. In Book 4 of the Civil Code 'registered
partners' are equated with 'spouses'.
- 2. For the purpose of paragraph 1 the following
rules have to be observed:
a. the use of the term 'marriage' includes
b. the use of the term 'married' includes 'registered
as a registered partner';
c. the use of the terms 'matrimonial community
of property' includes 'community of property of a registered partnership';
d. the use of the terms 'marriage vow' includes
'promise to enter into a registered partnership';
e. the use of the term 'divorce' includes 'termination
of a registered partnership' as referred to in Article 1:80c under point
(c) or (d) of the Civil Code.
- 3. A stepchild of the deceased is put in
Book 4 on the same level as a child of the spouse or registered partner
of the deceased of whom the deceased himself is not the parent. Such a
child, however, remains a stepchild if the marriage or the registered
partnership has ended.