27 February 2024

Why it is worth dealing with your own estate planning rather sooner than later

  • Articles
  • Legal
  • Inheritance / Succession

Facing one's own mortality and, consequently, engaging in personal estate planning is challenging for many. Nevertheless, we would like to illustrate why it is important and meaningful to actively take charge of planning your legacy.

Planning and distributing your estate

If there is neither a will nor an inheritance contract, the law determines who inherits a quota of the estate, but not who receives which asset. By planning your estate, you take a burden off your loved ones and can organize your inheritance according to your wishes. The applicable Swiss legal provisions give you a great deal of leeway in this respect. When planning your estate, you eventually determine how your assets should be preserved, managed and distributed after your death. It is a dynamic process that needs to evolve with the changes in your life and family situation. As Switzerland is a Civil Law country with forced heirship, you also have to consider your heirs, who are protected by law and have a statutory entitlement, a right to receive a "slice of the cake" of the estate.

The situation of the spouse or the partner in life

Many people live in a relationship and often wish to protect each other as much as possible in the event of death. Many couples do not know, however, that marriage does not always mean that the spouse is the sole heir to the deceased partner’s estate. It can happen that other heirs claim parts of the estate in the event of the death of one partner. Especially in cases where a deceased person was self-employed or a property is to be divided in the estate, this can cause financial difficulties for the partner.

Allocating specific assets to heirs or legatees

It is not uncommon for conflicts to arise between descendants after the death of the testator. If you wish to allocate specific assets to your descendants or third persons in a certain way or determine a successor in your business, it is essential to draw up a will or conclude an inheritance contract. Such measures may not always completely prevent potential conflicts between your descendants, but they can certainly put a limit to them.

Dealing with personal belongings with an emotional value

Jewelry, watches, pictures, vintage cars... - personal belongings often have a high emotional value. We often share a passion with a good friend or want to ensure that an heirloom remains in the family. It is important to write down such wishes in your will in a binding way to avoid any uncertainty and to ensure that they are followed by your heirs.

Doing something “good”

Death shows us our finiteness. Unsurprisingly, our clients often wish to devote a part of their own assets for charitable purposes when planning their estate. The possibilities are manifold: research, humanitarian aid, integration projects or a contribution to the zoo or animal welfare are just a few examples of possible support projects. The decision is often difficult. Of course, foundations or associations can also be considered and it is also possible to allocate the assets to a specific purpose.

Arranging your own estate

We see it almost every day: it is indeed a great challenge (and sometimes even an overwhelming task) to deal with your own estate planning. But knowing that you have drawn up a solid will or an inheritance contract in an amicable way and that your loved ones are well protected can be very reassuring. Settling the estate at an early stage also ensures family peace: normally, the division of the estate can be carried out fairly and smoothly in your own interests and those of your heirs. A well-prepared estate planning prevents uncertainties and disputes - a wish that most testator have.

We can advice and assist you

Are you already familiar with the MME inheritance-law traffic light? This will help you to quickly determine whether it is worthwhile for you to seek advice on your personal inheritance situation. This link will take you directly to our inheritance-law traffic light:

To the inheritance-law traffic light (German only)


Would you like to take an in-depth and constructive look at your estate planning? The MME inheritance law experts will be happy to support you and can answer all your questions on inheritance law, estate planning and family business succession. We look forward to hearing from you.