In the context of the reforms relating to the inheritance planning, the proposed changes, some of which have already been approved by the Federal Council of the Swiss Confederation, are particularly interesting.

The main innovations concern the redetermination of the so-called legitimate shares, meaning the shares of the inheritance that are reserved by the law to specific subjects (e.g. children, spouse, parents).

In Swiss law, currently, to the children of the deceased is reserved the share of 3/4 of the inheritance; the share of ½ to the spouse and finally, in the absence of children, the share of ½ is reserved to the parents.

The modifications provided for in Message I, already approved by the Swiss Federal Council, include reductions in legitimate shares, thus leaving the de cuius more freedom to dispose of his assets.

In particular, the share of ½ will be reserved to the children; therefore, in the presence of children, the de cuius may freely dispose of half of his estate.

Parents will not have reserved share anymore; the share reserved to the spouse, however, will remain unchanged.

Message II, concerning technical issues on the regulation of succession for family businesses, is awaiting approval; therefore, the reform will not enter into force before 2022.

It is clear that if the legislator makes citizens free to dispose of their assets, there will be an increase in trade and investments, employment and general welfare.

If the legislator plans to increase taxation or constraints on the patrimony, citizens will not be stimulated either to productivity or to investment or to expenses; companies will not recruit staff and the economy, which cannot be fed by State alms, will suffer from a lack of oxygen and die of asphyxiation.

Once again, Adam Smith’s reflections would be useful and perhaps actual.

 

Milano, 4th June 2021

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