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Do you have no direct heirs and want the bulk of your assets not to go to the state but to those in need? Or maybe you do have direct heirs but you also want to make a gesture in favour of those who have nothing? Then make a bequest to the Luxembourg Red Cross.
A bequest is a provision contained in a will that allows you to designate one or more beneficiaries who will be given all or part of your assets. These beneficiaries may be natural persons such as your children or family members, or legal entities, including associations such as the Luxembourg Red Cross.
The distribution of your bequest is largely determined by whether or not you have any héritiers réservataires, i.e. heirs statutorily entitled to a certain portion of the estate. You cannot bequeath your entire estate to the Luxembourg Red Cross if you have descendants – children or grandchildren.
The law in fact provides that part of your assets, called the “reserved portion” (part réservataire) or the “reserve” (réserve), must revert to them. The part that you can freely dispose of, the available share, will depend on the number of children you have.
|Number of children||Reserved portion||Available portion|
|3 or more children||3/4||1/4|
On the other hand, if you do not have any heirs who are entitled to inherit, you may freely and entirely dispose of your assets.
Let’s take the following example: you bequeath a house that has a value of € 900,000 at the time of your death.
If you have no children, you can bequeath € 900,000 to the Luxembourg Red Cross.
If you have a single child, 450,000 €.
If you have two children, 300,000 €.
If you have three or more children, 225,000 €.
It should be noted that your parents and grandparents (ascendants) as well as your spouse are not considered by the law to be héritiers réservataires.
Three types of bequests can be made, depending on your family situation and your wishes.
Sole legatee bequests (Leg Universel). You bequeath your entire estate to one or more persons called “sole legatees”. This type of bequest is only possible if you do not have any descendants (héritiers réservataires).
Within such a bequest, you can also designate specific bequests. In your will, you designate other beneficiaries to whom the sole legatee – the Luxembourg Red Cross, for example – will be responsible for handing over the property you have designated.
Partial bequests (Leg à titre Universel). You bequeath to the Luxembourg Red Cross a share of your estate, expressed as a fraction, percentage or type of property (your real estate, for example). This type of bequest may also be made if you have protected heirs (héritiers réservataires). In such a case, you will have to take into account the reserved portion and the available share to protect your descendants’.
Specific bequests (Leg particulier). You bequeath to the Luxembourg Red Cross one or more designated properties. This may be a house, an apartment, securities, jewellery, bank accounts, a specific sum of money, etc.
To bequeath all or part of your assets to the Luxembourg Red Cross, you must make a will in its favour. It is best to draw it up quickly if you want to guarantee that your last wishes be met. You can change or cancel it at any time if your financial and/or family situation changes.
You write your own last wishes and keep them at home. To be valid, a holographic will must be entirely handwritten on a blank sheet of paper, accurately dated (day, month and year must be mentioned) and signed. There are no other conditions for validity, except of course that your wishes must be expressed clearly and unambiguously and must only be signed by you. Joint wills signed by both spouses are not valid.
This is the simplest, least expensive solution. You can revoke your holographic will at any time. You can simply destroy it and draw up another will that cancels the previous one, without a professional needing to step in. However, there is a slight drawback: since you are the sole custodian of the will, it can be lost, destroyed or stolen.
To ensure that your last wishes are met, it is best to secure your holographic will. You can do this in two ways:
An “authentic will” is a will by public deed. Specifically, you dictate your will either before two notaries or before a notary in the presence of two witnesses. The will is then drawn up – either by hand or on a computer – by the notary. After the dictation and reading of the will, it is signed by you, by the notary and the two witnesses, or by both notaries. Finally, the authentic will is dated and entered in the central register of last wills and testaments.
The advantage of this type of will is its reliability. Your will is drawn up by a notary who knows and complies with the applicable law. You run no risk of errors and possible challenge, as can be the case with a holographic will. Moreover, since it is registered, it cannot be destroyed or mislaid.
You should expect to spend at least 250 € to have such a notarial act carried out. If you wish to modify or withdraw your will, you will have to go through a notary again. An authentic deed can only be replaced by another authentic deed.
The testament mystique is a will signed by you and presented closed and sealed, in the presence of two witnesses, to a notary. A deed attesting to the receipt of the will is then drawn up by the notary and signed by you, the two witnesses and the notary. As with the authentic will, this will will be entered by the notary into the central register of last wills and testaments.
The advantage of this type of will is its confidentiality: your last wishes will be kept secret until you pass away.
In the absence of a will, the estate will be settled according to the provisions of the law.
In general, the order of succession is as follows:
1. descendants (children and grandchildren);
2. the surviving spouse;
3. the father and mother, together with brothers and sisters;
4. ascendants other than the father and mother (grandparents, great-grandparents);
5. collateral relatives other than brothers and sisters (uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, etc.);
6. the State.
If you have no legal heirs, all your property goes to the State.
You can bequeath all kinds of property. It can be an apartment, a house, a piece of land, a car, jewellery, works of art, a sum of money, a bank account, securities, a savings account, wines or precious materials. You can bequeath up to the amount available according to the shares assigned to heirs by law. If you do not have any heirs with a right of inheritance, you can bequeath your entire estate.
Of course you may. You may absolutely make use of all your possessions as you wish. Only after your death will the Luxembourg Red Cross receive your estate as you left it. Moreover, unlike a donation, which is definitive, a will can be changed at any time.
No, it is not necessary but nevertheless strongly recommended if you wish to benefit from the advice of an expert and draw up a valid will that cannot be challenged.
The three forms of will – holographic, authentic and mystical – have strictly the same value. One is no more valid than the other two. It is up to you to choose the form that suits you best.
You can change or cancel your will at any time. You can change a holographic will on your ownby indicating on the new version that you revoke all previous provisions. Remember that if you have registered your previous will in the central register of last wills and testaments, you must also do so for the new version.
In the case of “authentic” and “mystical” wills, you will have to consult a notary again.
It all depends on the form of the will.
A holographic will must be presented to the president of the district court of the place where you had your last domicile by the notary or one of your heirs or relatives. The president of the court will draw up a record of the filing of the will. They will then designate the notary who will receive the will and will be responsible for its execution.
If it is an authentic will, the notary who receives it will contact your heirs and legatees directly. They can then proceed with the liquidation of your estate without the intervention of the president of the district court.
A mystical will must be presented to the president of the district court and its opening must take place in the presence of the notary and the two witnesses. A notary will then be appointed by the president and will proceed with the execution of the succession.
The inheritance tax rate for bequests to associations recognised as being of public utility such as the Luxembourg Red Cross are reduced to 4%.