Inheritance And Estate Tax Switzerland

Author:Dr. Iur. Kinga Weiss and Stephan Neidhardt
Profession:Walder Wyss Ltd

Increased mobility among high net worth individuals and family owned and private companies with assets in multiple countries has meant estate planning is subject to ever more complex tax issues. In turn, individuals are increasingly seeking specialist estate lawyers to help navigate complex legal affairs relating to inheritance and tax, such as tax residency and domicile and the tax aspects of international investments. To find out more, Lawyer Monthly speaks to Kinga M. Weiss and Stephan Neidhardts from one of Switzerland's leading law firms, Walder Wyss.

Please introduce yourself, your role and your firm:

Walder Wyss clients include national and international corporations as well as public-law entities and individuals. The firm offers private clients comprehensive advisory services and we head the private clients' team. We provide support with relocating to Switzerland and with planning as well as setting up appropriate structures and evaluate the most suitable domestic and international arrangements.

What are the most challenging aspects of your role? How do you navigate the challenges that arise?

The most challenging aspect of our private client's work is to elaborate state-of-the-art solutions on a case-by-case basis for the clients. Each case is different and requires an overall assessment of all circumstances of the client including his personal affairs. With our longstanding expertise and many years of practice experience in private client's work we navigate these challenges by a thorough analysis of each case.

Have there been any legislative changes that affect your practice area?

In the international inheritance law area actions need to be taken based on the EU Succession Regulation (No. 650/2012), which entered into force on 16 August 2012. Switzerland is not a member of the EU, but is affected by it. In order to simplify the processing of cross border successions within the EU, the conflict-of-law rules on cross-border successions of 24 members of the EU have been harmonized and will by operation of law directly be applicable to all deaths on or after 17 August 2015. The EU Succession Regulation provides for one single criterion for determining the jurisdiction and the law applicable to cross-border successions: the last habitual residence at the time of death of the deceased. Pursuant to Swiss law the connecting factor in inheritance issues is the last residence of the deceased. In cases, where the EU and the Swiss connecting...

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