Rest in Peace: the third edition

The third edition of Rest in Peace, a Guide to Wills and Inheritance tax in Belgium  is out.

On 1 September 2018, Belgium introduced some major changes to its inheritance rules. At the same time, new rules relating to matrimonial regime of married couples entered into force and Flanders adopted some new inheritance tax rules. On 1 January, Wallonia had already introduced some new tax rules . And this came after the European Succession Regulation came into force.

The Belgian inheritance rules date back to Napoleon with very few
changes since them, like the forced heirship right for the surviving spouse in the seventies.  Being an estate planner was relatively straightforward.

These changes were a real game changer.

Now, some changes give us new estate planning opportunities, such as the exemption of inheritance tax between husband and wife for the main residence.

Moreover, new technologies and social media require a new type of estate planning, for your digital afterlife and your digital assets. And from a personal point of view, the lasting power of attorney offers new possibilities to help you take care of yourself when you cannot do it anymore.

Estate planning is not just about drawing up a will and finding ways to minimise taxes. It is essentially about peace of mind.

Smart estate planning can be complex, and if you need to plan across borders, that can be quite daunting.

Rest in PeaceA Guide to Wills and Inheritance Tax in Belgium 

by Marc Quaghebeur, tax lawyer

This book is probably the first book in English on the subject.

This is because it is an accessible, easy-to-understand introduction to estate planning, in the hope that it will get you started on planning your estate.

The purpose of this book is to dissipate some misunderstandings and avoid some traps help you plan your estate.

Above all, given the complex maze of laws (civil law, inheritance law, tax laws and inheritance tax, social security laws, etc), it is recommended that you work with an experienced estate planning lawyer or notary. Even then, if you have to take account of the laws of one or more countries, a small misstep or oversight may be very problematic and you may need a lawyer in another country to help you. In any event, this book will help you ask the correct questions from your advisers. 

The book is available from Amazon, at Sterling Books and at Waterstone’s in Brussels.

This book is for you if you live in Belgium and

  • you want to understand how the rules work and what
    mistakes to avoid;
  • you want to draw up a valid will;
  • you live in Belgium and you want to plan your
    estate in an efficient way;
  • you want to know what happens when you inherit from
    your parents in Greece;
  • your children live in other countries;
  • you have property in other countries;
  • you have investments and bank accounts in other
  • your parents have set up a trust for your benefit.

This book is also for you if you do not live in Belgium and  

  • you own property in Belgium;
  • you stand to inherit from someone who died in
    Belgium and
  • you need to understand whether you should accept or
    waive the inheritance;
  • you consider retiring in Belgium;
  • you are an official of an international institution
    and you live temporarily in Belgium;
  • you plan your estate and one or more of your
    children live in Belgium.

This book can help you make sound decisions that could help your loved ones when you are gone.

Table of contents       (preview on Amazon).

Dealing with death
Who inherits what?
Last will and testament
Forced heirship
Community property
Inheritance tax
Cross border successions
The art of estate planning
Plan in your will
Plan by donating
Change your marriage contract
Plan with life insurance
Planning by contract
Trusts and foundations
Plan your life
Practical planning