Legal Alert – New EU Regulation on Succession (2015)


By adopting express applicable law provisions the EU unifies the rules regarding succession and makes the settlement of potential disputes faster and more efficient. This would help the judicial bodies of the Member States decide whose jurisdiction should be exercised. For example, if a deceased person has not chosen an applicable succession law, the applicable law would be determined by the general rule described above and the courts of the Member State in which the deceased had his habitual residence at the time of death shall have jurisdiction to rule on the succession as a whole.. The Regulation explicitly states that a decision given in a Member State shall be recognized in other Member States without any special procedures required.


Another innovative step introduced by the Regulation is the creation of an European Certificate of Succession (“ECS”). The ECS may be used in another Member State in order to help individuals prove their status and rights as heirs or their rights as administrators of the estate or executors of the will without further formalities. The ECS may be also used to demonstrate the attribution of a specific asset or specific assets forming part of the estate to the heir(s) or, as the case may be, the legatee(s) mentioned in the ECS.  The ECS shall be issued by a competent domestic judicial body or other competent issuing authority in the Member States. The issuing of the ECS shall be preceded by an application filled in by the interested persons. Once the certificate is issued, it produces effect in all Member States without the need of any further special procedure.  EFFECTIVE DATE  The provisions of the Regulations shall apply to the succession of persons who die on or after 17 August 2015.