Drawing up a will in the Netherlands
In many countries, it is normal to contact a lawyer when you need to make a will – but in the Netherlands, the rules are different. Learn how a notary can help and why you do not need a lawyer to make a will.
This post was reviewed and updated on 13 October 2020
What is a will?
A will (also called a last will and testament) can record what happens to the estate/inheritance after death. A will can also be used to record your wishes regarding a funeral and who should handle your legacy.
Why make a will?
If no will has been made (known as dying intestate), then inheritance law will apply. Cohabitants who are not married to each other and who have not entered into a registered partnership do not inherit from each other. The estate/inheritance will then go to the legal heirs: children, brother, sister or parents.
If you make a will, you can choose to deviate from the inheritance law and, for example, designate a cohabiting partner as the heir, arrange child custody, or appoint an executor. A spouse or child can also be disinherited in a will.
How to make a will in the Netherlands: contact a notary
In many countries, it is customary to have a will written by a lawyer or solicitor.
In the Netherlands, however, only civil-law notaries are authorised to draw up a will and register it (make it official). Anyone who lives in the Netherlands and is 16 years or older may draw up a will at the notary.
GMW lawyers cannot and may not prepare wills. We can of course refer you to a notary from our network.
When to contact a lawyer about inheritance
Settling an inheritance is not always a simple job. Inheritance law is a specialist area of law with a multitude of its own special rules. In addition, the complexity of family relationships has increased considerably in recent years, because there are more often stepparents, stepchildren or half-brother and sisters.
While a lawyer is not involved in making a will, they can assist you with related subjects such as:
- Settlement of an international inheritance
- Disagreement among heirs
- Legal representation in court (litigation)
- Estate planning: continuity of the company, gifting to heirs, exclusion clauses
Making a will – contact a notary
If you need help with making a will in the Netherlands, please contact a notary for assistance.
This weblog was written in close collaboration with Bianca Kok-Beekhuizen, legal assistant in the family and inheritance law section. For more information, you can contact Sieta Autar-Matawlie or Bianca Kok-Beekhuizen (070-3114064).
Sieta Autar-Matawlie has extensive experience in the field of inheritance. She advises and litigates in large and complex domestic and international matters of succession, where issues arise such as the settlement of an estate, usufruct, distribution and settling of an estate, powers and discharge of the executor, determining the legal share but also for example obtaining information in order to determine the amount of the balance of the estate. Additionally Sieta advises clients on wills and she executes trusts.