Share article:
Share article:

46,000 Belgians refused an inheritance in the last year

© Alvaro Serrano via Unsplash

In the popular culture, the surviving family members gather around the notary’s desk to find out what the deceased has decided will become of his or her legacy.

In 46,000 cases in the past 12 months in Belgium, those who were left something in a deceased’s will refused to accept, as a precaution against being landed with the deceased person’s debts.

Around 3,200 people a month are presented with the will of a deceased person, and refuse what they appear to be inheriting . The reason: they would then be liable for the debts the deceased has also left behind. That china teapot could carry a mountain of debt.

No one is obliged to accept an inheritance,” according to the Notaries’ Federation in a statement.

If the deceased left more debts than assets, the heir can dismiss the estate before a notary free of charge. The notary will then not charge a fee. This also applies if the net assets (the amount that remains after you have deducted all the debts of the assets) is lower than €5,219.19. The costs are borne by a fund set up by the notary profession.”

“More and more people are aware that they can reject an inheritance for free by having a declaration of rejection drawn up by a notary,” says Carol Bohyn, spokesperson for Notaris.be.

This way they avoid problems with the creditors of the deceased.”

The cost of such a rejection of inheritance is personal. The inheritor can then no longer lay claim to any article of the deceased’s property, not even that worthless china teapot, or more importantly family photos. The entire estate is out of bounds however small or large.

Warning: the rejection of an inheritance cannot be reversed. If it later turns out Uncle Alf had some oil wells in Texas, nothing can be done. Also, a decision – although the legal term is 30 years for a rejection – should be done as soon as possible.

If a person named in the will does not issue a formal rejection, their own descendants could be responsible for the debts involved should the inheritor die in the meantime.

For more advice, contact www.notaris.be/faq/erven

Latest news

Introduction of Covid Safe Ticket leads more in Brussels to get vaccinated
The introduction of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) in the Brussels-Capital Region on 15 October seems to have lead to a higher number of residents ...
More and more testimonies, and a second rally against sexual violence in Brussels
A second rally against sexual violence was held in the Brussels neighbourhood of Ixelles on Thursday evening, and a sister-rally was held ...
Over 1,000 Covid-19 hospitalisations for first time since early June
The number of patients hospitalised in Belgium as a result of the coronavirus has again exceeded 1,000, climbing to 1,032, according to figures ...
Experts call for more widespread use of masks as figures rise
As coronavirus figures continue to rise, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has suggested that people return to wearing masks when indoors with ...
Belgium wants to recover €420 million in wrongfully paid out coronavirus aid
The Belgian State intends to recover €420 million of unduly paid Covid-19 aid, La Libre Belgique reported on Thursday. The electronic Council of ...
Why the fight for transgender rights is polarising Europe 
Year after year, Samuel De Schepper would ask Santa Claus to bring him a penis for Christmas. Born female and attending an all girl’s Catholic ...
New offshore wind farm officially opened
Despite being operational since the end of 2020, the SeaMade offshore wind farm was officially inaugurated on Wednesday by Prime Minister Alexander ...
Contact tracers have no time for calls, only texts, amid rising cases
Contract tracers will no longer make phone calls to the high-risk contacts of people who test positive for the coronavirus beginning from Wednesday, ...
Belgium holds on to top spot in FIFA rankings despite recent losses
Once again, Belgium's Red Devils have held onto their position at the top of the world football rankings, according to an update released by the ...
Proximus pushes for high-speed internet in Brussels and Wallonia
Fifteen municipalities in Wallonia should soon have access to high-speed internet through the rollout of fibre optics in the region, telecoms giant ...
Why Belgium is regulating sex work
After decades of confusing rules and hypocritical policy, Belgium is finally regulating sex work by removing prostitution from the criminal law. ...
World’s largest chocolate warehouse opens in Flanders
On Thursday, Barry Callebaut – the largest global chocolate processor and manufacturer – opened the world's largest chocolate warehouse in Lokeren, ...