An inheritance contract

A will that is not valid as a public will cannot be invalidated as a private will, if the provisions regarding private wills have not been infringed in its preparation.

Oral wills:

Can be made in exceptional circumstances by an estate-leaver who is unable to make a written private or public will. If, upon the cessation of these circumstances, it is possible for the estate-leaver to make a written will, then the oral ceases to be valid three months after the cessation of the circumstances.

An inheritance contract is an alternative to a will.

An inheritance contract requires one party to grant the rights to his/her future inheritance in full or in part to another party or to a third person. Several parties can grant such rights to each other.

Exclusion from an inheritance is not permitted in an inheritance contract. An inheritance contract establishes not only a personal obligation, but the inheritance right itself. On the other hand, a contract which contains only a promise to appoint someone as his/her heir in the future has no such effect (notwithstanding that both parties have agreed on the principal provisions of a future inheritance contract).

An inheritance contract may be entered into only by persons who have the legal right to enter into contracts, and have the capacity to make wills and to inherit pursuant to wills. The estate-leaver must have the right to determine the disposition of his/her own property in the event of death. An heir who is appointed pursuant to contract must have the capacity to inherit.

An inheritance contract must be certified according to notarial procedures. If the contract concerns immovable property, then it must be registered in the Land Register. If the subject matter of an inheritance contract is immovable property and the contract is entered in the Land Register while the estate-leaver is alive, then he/she may not sell, mortgage or encumber it with property rights without the consent of the contractual heir.

In order to take an intestate or testamentary inheritance, the contractual heirs must survive until the opening of the succession and the invitation to inherit. An heir who is appointed provisional upon a certain condition must survive until the occurrence of such a condition.

An owner may make a gift prior to death, subject to certain provisions.

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