Reform of Belgian inheritance law: the key points

Most of the Belgian inheritance law regulations date back to Napoleonic times. The law of 20 July 2017 has introduced new provisions effective from 1 September 2018. See our articles and videos which give details of the key points of this reform.

Forced heirship: giving the testator greater freedom in disposing of their estate

  • Limit on the reserved portion for the direct-line descendants to give the testator greater freedom,
  • Elimination of the portion reserved for ascendants to strengthen the position of unmarried cohabiting couples,
  • Reserved portion maintained for the surviving spouse.

(in French)

Find out more on forced heirship


New mechanisms for reporting and calculating the reduction of gifts: greater fairness and security for the heirs

  • Reporting and calculating the reduction ‘by value’ both for movable and immovable property, using the valuations on the ‘day of the donation’,
  • Elimination of the general presumption of a gift being an advance portion of the inheritance.

(in French)

Find out more about the changes to the mechanisms for reporting and calculating the reduction of gifts


Agreements on succession: a tool to prevent family disputes

  • Global succession agreements drawn up between the parent(s) and all the children,
  • Specific agreements, made between certain members of a family.

(in French)

Find out more about agreements on succession


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Bernard Goffaux
Head of Estate Planning


To find out more about the impacts of this reform on your personal situation:

Contact an adviser