09. Feb 16

Switzerland searching for account holders or their heirs

Switzerland is searching for missing account holders or their heirs. With several million francs said to be sitting “unclaimed” in Swiss accounts, succession could prove to be profitable.

GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: Swiss banks are looking for account holders, or their heirs, who have not made themselves known for 60 years or more. According to reports from the media, a total of more than 44 million Swiss francs is supposed to be lying dormant in these accounts, essentially just waiting to be collected.

In order to establish contact with the account holders or their heirs, Switzerland has now set up a website online where the names of clients who have not been in touch with their bank since 1955 or longer are listed. The hope is that these persons will be tracked down and contact their bank. They have one year to do so. Of course, they have to be able to prove that they are the account holder or the legitimate successor.

Even though the search for possible heirs might prove to be successful, they should not accept their potential inheritance without first obtaining legal assistance by turning to lawyers who are competent in the field of succession law, as there may be cons as well as pros to inheriting a large fortune. The estate could be burdened with tax liabilities. The capital has probably not been taxed for decades, which means, strictly speaking, that this likely amounts to illegal earnings.

The heir then has to promptly report this to the competent tax office. Lawyers who are experienced in the fields of succession and tax law can assess whether it is worthwhile accepting the inheritance in the first place and what burdens the heirs could be faced with. Moreover, it is possible for legal disputes to arise among the heirs. If the account holder has passed away, this raises the question of whether he prepared a will or whether the rules of intestate succession apply. Competent legal counsel ought to be obtained if one is to resolve these issues.

For more informations: https://www.grprainer.com/en/legal-advice/private-clients/law-of-succession.html

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