Wills: Something you have to do before you die

Claire Trotel from Snow Hill Legal, Christopher Thubron and Steve Wheeler from Moore Stephens and Marc Quaghebeur from De Broeck Van Laere & Partners, joined us for a seminar to demystify the necessity of a will. Not because they want part of your money, but because dying in Belgium could be a very costly experience for your heirs.

The intro of the seminar already indicated that the speakers would be demonstrating that Belgium is a good country to live in (a thing you probably all know), but due to inheritance tax could be a very expensive country to die in if you have a domicile in Belgium and in the U.K.

I learned that in the UK domicile and residence is not the same if you talk about inheritance. Contrary to residence, the place where you live most of the time, domicile of origin in the U.K. is a concept that stays with you even if you have lived in Belgium for a long time. If you plan on retiring outside the UK, you have to give up your domicile in the U.K. to avoid massive double inheritance taxation. Although I try to explain it in a very simplified way, this is actually specialist material and you should consult a specialist if you’re an expat in Belgium and you plan on staying here for ever.

If you are from the UK (or from anywhere elsewhere in the world), it seems very wise to me not only to consult a specialist who understands your “origin” situation, but also to consult a Belgian specialist as you will find out that inheritance law can be very different from country to country and this might actually result in having to draft not one will that covers all your assets but a will in each country where you have assets may be helpful.

Nobody plans on dying tomorrow, but if you are well prepared the exercise will not be as painful for those you leave behind and they will have something to take with them and not having to pay it all back to various governments…

As usual on this sort of subject, during the networking cocktail a lot of questions popped-up and were answered by our speakers and I am sure all present realised that being informed about these matters is key.

I would like to thank Claire, Steve, Christopher and Marc for clarifying the matters to us as brief and concisely as possible.

Furthermore I like to thank Moore Stephens FS (Brussels) for sponsoring this seminar.

Looking forward to meeting you all again at a future seminar



Topic of the discussion: Something you have to do before you die

Speakers: Christopher Thubron, Partner – Moore Stephens

                   – Marc Quaghebeur, Partner – De Broeck Van Laere & Partners

                   – Claire Trotel, Solicitor – Snow Hill Legal

                   – Steve Wheeler, Associate – Moore Stephens

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