How do I draft up a will?
Register all legal heirs in our tool: spouse and blood relatives. It is also possible to bequeath friends and organisations – the latter are named heirs.
«… my son Peter is a statutory heir» or «… my best friend Regula is a named heiress»
Use our tool to define who should receive which part of your estate. The statutory inheritance entitlements are automatically protected.
«… my son shall receive the minimum – he shall only receive the statutory inheritance entitlement» or «… my wife Jasmin shall receive the disposable part»
Manually transcribe the template & deposit it
Manually transcribe your individual template. Deposit the will.
«… my wife knows exactly where to find my will if necessary» or «… I deposit my will with my lawyer» or «… my will is deposited with the notary»
How can I create
a will according to Swiss Law of Succession?
If you do not draw up a will or a contract of succession, your estate will be divided in accordance with the intestate succession. Part of the estate may go to the state. In a will, you can divide your estate however you wish. In order to prevent claims, it is recommended to arrange the division of the estate, even if the latter is of smaller size.
Who should benefit from your estate? First of all, get clarity about your relatives and your family situation. Consider who you would like to benefit and whether there is a charitable organisation you would like to bequeath. In order to calculate the statutory entitlements, you must enter all statutory heirs in our tool – this with just a few mouse clicks. Statutory heirs are spouses, registered partners and blood relatives (i.e. parents, grandparents, children, etc.). Only then you can enter additional non-statutory heirs (so-called “named heirs”) such as friends or organisations.
In a second step, you determine who from the statutory and named heirs shall receive which share from the estate. In the first diagram, our tool shows you who would receive how much according to the intestate succession if you do not create a will. You can use the ruler to determine the shares. Our tool helps you to draft up a will in compliance with the statutory inheritance entitlements. For example, descendants always receive at least 50% of the estate You can dispose of the disposable part – it is that part of the estate that is not subject to the statutory inheritance entitlement. If you decide to bequeath an organisation, it will be listed as legatee (What is a legacy?).
Transcribe & deposit
In a third step your template will be created. You can easily download it as a PDF and review it. It is important that you manually transcribe your will from the template. Your will must be written by hand from beginning to end in order to be valid. Deposit your will with a confidant, a lawyer or with your commune/a location designated by your commune.
Frequently asked questions
What are the various forms of wills?
The testator may make his or her will in the form of a public deed or in holographic or oral form. All three types are regulated in the Swiss Civil Code. A holographic will must be written in the testator’s own hand from start to finish (including the indication of the day, month and year on which it is drawn up) and be signed by the testator. A will by public deed is made in the presence of two witnesses by a public official, notary public or other person authorised under cantonal law to conduct such business. Where the testator is prevented from using any other form of will by extraordinary circumstances (e.g. imminent risk of death), he or she is entitled to make a will in oral form. The oral will ceases to be valid 14 days after the extraordinary circumstances have ceased to exist or retains its effect if the latter persist.
Which form of will suits my situation?
Usually a holographic will is sufficient. Yet, in complex cases or where there are doubts whether the testator is capable of judgement at the time of drafting up the will, a will by public deed – with prior clarification of the capacity of judgement – can be useful. Otherwise, a holographic will and a will by public deed are equally valid. If you are not sure which form suits your needs, seek professional consultation.
When is a will invalid?
The Swiss Civil Code lists the four grounds for invalidity: invalidity on grounds of formal defect (e.g. a holographic will is not manually transcribed), testator was incapable of judgement at the time of drafting up the will, the assent of one of the parties was vitiated (e.g. deception or threats) and unlawfulness or immorality.
Can I freely dispose of my estate in my will?
Yes and no. You can freely dispose of the disposable part. The heirs who have a statutory inheritance entitlement enjoy certain protection. In order to avoid any claims, you should consider the statutory inheritance entitlements of your spouse and children. However, the share that exceeds the statutory inheritance entitlements is at your free disposal. You can, for example, bequeath it to a trustworthy organisation or to a person of your choice. You can find information about various organisations on our website. Calculate the disposable part using the will generator.
Can spouses draw up a common will?
No. Swiss Law of Succession does not recognise this form. Since a holographic will has to be manually transcribed, this is not possible. If spouses want to jointly divide their estate, they must do so through a contract of succession in the presence of a notary or other person authorised under cantonal law.
What is a contract of succession? How does it differ from a will?
A contract of succession is another form of testamentary disposition. Unlike the will, the contract of succession is a contractual agreement between the testator and the heirs. If the heirs consent, statutory inheritance entitlements can be circumvented. The contract of succession must always be authenticated and cannot be changed unilaterally.
Why do certain heirs designate an executor?
The division of an estate on the basis of a will is not always smooth. Jealousy or hurt feelings sometimes make the process difficult. In order to avoid disputes, you can appoint an executor in your will. He or she will ensure that your last will is executed according to your wishes and that the heirs are relieved of the task. The heirs should trust the executor and the latter should be impartial – lawyers or notaries are often appointed for this purpose. The executor’s function is to represent the testator’s wishes and, in particular, to administer the estate, settle debts left by the testator, distribute legacies and divide the estate in accordance with the testator’s instructions or as required by law.