ACCESS NL > Relocating to the Netherlands > Legal matters in the Netherlands > Netherlands death registration > In the absence of a will, who inherits under the Dutch inheritance law?
Netherlands death registration
What are the legal aspects to take into account when registering a death in the Netherlands?
Which documents are needed for registering a death?
What to do in order to repatriate the body of a family member?
Do I need to make a Dutch will whilst I live here or is the will I made in my home country valid?
May I disinherit my child or my partner in my will?
Which law of inheritance is valid if my partner or I should die during our stay in the Netherlands? The Dutch law or the law of my home country?
In the absence of a will, who inherits under the Dutch inheritance law?
Four categories of heirs are recognised in Dutch law: spouses or registered partners and children have priority entitlement to an equal share of the estate, followed by siblings, parents and nephews and nieces, and then by grandparents and great-grandparents, respectively. Relatives within each of these categories are only eligible to inherit property if there are no eligible relatives within the preceding category.
Each beneficiary can refuse the right of inheritance. This will likely be the case if there is a negative estate caused by debts.
It is also possible to accept an inheritance under benefit of inventory (beneficiair aanvaarden). If you accept an inheritance under benefit of inventory you are not liable for any debts, not even if you have enough assets to settle them. But you cannot dispose of the estate until it is certain that all the debts have been settled.
If the spouse and children were the heirs, the spouse would receive all assets and debts of the deceased person’s estate, and the children would have claim on their inherited portion. When the children reach the legal age (18 years old), they would be entitled to handle their inheritance on their own, but as long as they are minors, their living parent would be the legal supervisor.
Partners living together without a registered partnership do not qualify for inheritance, even if they have signed a cohabitation contract in the presence of a civil law notary.