In the European Union there are about 450,000 cross-border succession cases every year, for example cases in which the deceased owned property or held bank accounts in different Member States.
Today, the European Parliament agreed to a draft Regulation on cross-border successions. The expectation is now that the Regulation can be adopted finally by the Council at a later point during the Danish Presidency.
The intention is to ensure significant simplification of the procedures in cross-border succession cases in the European Union.
Therefore, the proposal includes rules which prescribe that the entire succession case must be dealt with by one authority under the law of one country. In addition, a European Certificate of Succession will be introduced, to make it easier for beneficiaries, for example, to document their rights in another Member State, such as a Member State in which parts of the property of an estate are located.
The proposal will, however, fall under Denmark’s opt-out in matters concerning justice and home affairs, so the Regulation will not apply in Denmark.
The President of the Council (Justice and Home Affairs) Minister of Justice Morten Bødskov announces:
"The death of a close relative is a cause of severe strain emotionally. In such a situation it is not reasonable to demand that the bereaved must be able to deal with difficult legal issues involving the legal systems of several countries.
It has therefore long been the wish of the Member States of the Council to introduce new and simpler rules to regulate cross-border succession cases. I am highly satisfied with the European Parliament’s decision today to support this aspiration.
There is no reason to conceal that the negotiations on the proposed Regulation have not been simple. Succession is a highly sensitive area, which is handled differently in the individual Member States.
The Danish Presidency has worked hard to achieve agreement in this case, but it is obvious that the results have only been possible because the Member States and the Parliament have shown the required willingness to compromise. I would like to express my recognition of their approach.
The new rules will ensure simplification of the procedures in cross-border succession cases. Thus, the Regulation will include rules prescribing that the entire case must be dealt with by one authority according to the law of one country, which will make things significantly easier for the bereaved.
Unfortunately, the Regulation falls under the Danish justice opt-out and Danish citizens will therefore not gain any benefit from the improvements that the Regulation will bring.
This process is a distinct reflection of the excellent collaboration between the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council. I look greatly forward to continuing this good working relationship in connection with the other important cases that are due to be negotiated under the Danish Presidency."
See the European Parliament’s position on the first reading.
Read a survey of the process to prepare the proposal and relevant documents, including the Commission’s original proposal (COM(2009) 154 final)
Please address press contact to: Peter Goll, Ministry of Justice
Tel: +45 22 14 66 44, email: firstname.lastname@example.org