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The rules applicable to successions are very complex and vary considerably from one Member State to the next. The result is significant legal uncertainty and often bad experiences: for the heirs who face a legal and administrative imbroglio when they inherit a property located in another Member State, but also for those wishing to organise their succession during their life. This is why the Notaries of Europe aim to respond to a need for legal certainty by helping European citizens have better access to the law.
Easier access to successions law throughout Europe and in your language

Do you wonder how a succession works? Would you like to know how to draw up a will or which law is applicable to a succession? We answer these questions and many others.

We provide a free information resource in 23 languages on succession law in all the Member States. This is the ideal tool to consult before going to see your notary.

The content is updated regularly to follow developments in European and national legislation. More detailed information available in three languages (English, French and German) for all the countries of the EU is also provided.

 


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More and more Europeans are living outside their country of origin. According to statistics from the European Commission, there are now around 16 million international couples in the EU. Of the 2.4 marriages that took place in 2007, 13% (310 000) had an international element. Similarly, 41 000 of the 211 000 partnerships registered in the EU in 2007 had an international aspect.

Many of these international couples have assets – such as property or bank accounts – in several countries. They face legal uncertainty and extra costs if they have to divide their assets in the case of divorce, separation or death.

It is currently extremely difficult for them to be sure of which court has jurisdiction and what law is applicable to their situation and their property. Rules vary widely between countries, and may conflict with each other. It is estimated that parallel legal proceedings in different countries, the complexity of matters and the resulting legal fees cost EUR 1.1 billion per year.

The Notaries of Europe are well aware of this growing problem for EU citizens. That is why we created www.coupleseurope.eu. This website gives an overview of the law in the 27 EU Member States and provides answers to legal questions that any couple in the EU might have.

What are the consequences of divorce or separation in terms of our matrimonial property regime? Which law is applicable to a couple's property? What does the law provide for the property of registered and non-registered partners? What are the consequences of death in terms of our matrimonial property regime? These are some of the questions that you can find the answer to on the www.coupleseurope.eu website.

We provide information in 21 languages, covering all the EU countries. The information is updated regularly to reflect changes in EU and national law.


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The Vulnerable Adults in Europe website provides information for citizens on protective measures for vulnerable adults in 22 European countries. The website is available in three languages: English, French and German.

By answering the following questions, the website enables citizens to find the information they require quickly and easily.

  • Does the law in your country provide for lasting powers of attorney, advance decisions on medical treatment or the possibility to request that a trusted person be named as guardian in the future?

  • Which authority has international, territorial and material jurisdiction to appoint legal guardians?
    Is it usual practice to appoint several guardians, to deal with different matters (custody rights, administration of assets, etc.)?

  • To what formal and material restrictions are legal guardians subject? Must they be officially approved? Must they have authorisation from a court or authority to carry out certain legal acts?

  • Under the conflict-of-law rules in force, what substantive law is applicable to lasting powers of attorney, advance decisions to refuse treatment and requests made with regard to the guardian and/or circumstances of a guardianship?

The European Union is facing ageing populations in its Member States, linked to the significant increase in life expectancy. According to European Commission figures, in 2050 the number of over sixty year olds should reach 37% of the European population, of which 10% will be 80 or over.

But the issue of vulnerable adults does not only affect the elderly. It also concerns victims of accident or illness, the disabled, etc. Increasingly, people in need of protection are liable to travel, be cared for or hospitalised in a Member State other than that of their habitual residence. Their assets can also be spread across several Member States.

Faced with these changes in society, many Member States have specific legislation to ensure their systems of protection are adapted to individuals and their assets. Yet there can be considerable disparities between Member States’ protective systems. In this context, the Vulnerable Adults in Europe website is a precious tool giving you access to full information on 22 Member States’ national provisions, in particular to show citizens which self-determination instruments are available to them (lasting powers of attorney, etc.).

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