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The heir who is (completely) excluded from succession

Posted by on 19 September 2017

By judgment of 28 June 2017, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court re-examined the rights and obligations of an heir who was completely excluded from succession in a disposition of property upon death. Persons who have been completely excluded from succession are referred to as so-called "virtual heirs".

What does a virtual heir have to do in order to get to his or her legacy, and what rights does a virtual heir have until the time that heir status is recognised? And who actually is a virtual heir in the first place?


We have prepared a pdf for you which shows you the answer to these questions: 

  1. Who is a virtual heir according to Swiss law?
  2. According to Swiss law, who is an heir with a statutory inheritance entitlement?
  3. How high is the statutory inheritance entitlement in Switzerland?
  4. And how high are the statutory succession rights in Switzerland?
  5. So what is the statutory inheritance entitlement?
  6. I was excluded from inheritance in a disposition of property upon death. What do I need to do?
  7. How much time do I have to claim for infringement of statutory share or to claim grounds for invalidity?
  8. What can be claimed with an invalidity action?
  9. And what can be claimed with an abatement action?
  10. I am a virtual heir, the one-year period for filing a claim has not yet expired and I would like to know which estate values the testator has left with banks. Do I have the right to information?
  11. I missed the one-year period for filing the action for abatement, but I would still like to know who has received which assets and what the estate actually amounts to. Do I have the right to information?
  12. Can I, as a virtual heir, demand that a public inventory be recorded?

Download pdf 

If you liked this article, you may also be interested in reading about:

Heirs on the Foundation Board - 16 Questions and Answers, written by Oliver Arter and Daisy Vacher

What responsibilities does a Representative of the Community of Heirs have? 15 Questions and Answers, written by Oliver Arter and Daisy Vacher

Certificates of Inheritance - Legal Framework in Switzerlandm written by Oliver Arter and Daisy Vacher


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Topics: Private Clients

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Oliver Arter

Oliver Arter’s practice focuses on private clients and their advisers (banks, family offices, foreign advisers) in all aspects of domestic and international wealth planning. He also specialises in banking, asset management and regulatory matters. Oliver became of counsel in June 2009. His work involves representing and advising private clients on the structuring of assets (trusts, foundations, international business corporations), domestic and international estate planning, division of estates, execution of wills, matrimonial property rights, advance care directives and living wills, taking up residence and taxation. In addition he advises Swiss and international banks, asset managers, investment advisers and family offices on regulatory and contractual matters and represents them in proceedings. He publishes extensively in all his fields of practice. Oliver is an academic consultant with the Institute for Legal Theory and Legal Practice at the University of St Gallen, and is frequently invited to give lectures and chair conferences. Oliver Arter graduated with a law degree from the University of St Gallen in 1996 and was admitted to the Zurich Bar in 2000. His working languages are German, English and French. He is a member of the Zurich Bar Association, the Swiss Bar Association, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), the International Tax Planning Association (ITPA) and the Banking Law Association (“Bankenrechtliche Vereinigung e.V.”). Chambers Global, Chambers Europe, Chambers High Net Worth and Legal500 have ranked him for many years in a row as a leader in the field of private client.

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Daisy Vacher

Daisy Vacher's work focuses on matters of Swiss immigration and the procurement of work permits for companies wanting to employ foreign nationals in Switzerland. Before joining Froriep as an attorney, Daisy Vacher spent three years working for Fragomen Global Immigration Services in Zurich. Before that she was an associate attorney with Izaguirre Law in Colorado Springs, USA. In 2006 she completed her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Arizona followed by her Juris Doctor degree from the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver in 2011. Later that same year she was admitted to the Colorado Bar. She is a native English speaker and has a good command of German, Spanish, French and Italian.

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