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If you are not happy with the Belgian default rules, you need a Will to decide who gets what. You just have to make sure that your children and your spouse are entitled to receive a specified share of your estate.

Protect your spouse

You can give whatever is not reserved to the children and leave that to each other in full ownership so that he/she has more control over your estate.

Protect your children

If you anticipate problems with the children (marrying the wrong person, substance abuse, difficulties managing money, ... ), you can give whatever is not reserved to the children and leave that to each other in full ownership.  You can also decide that one of the children receives more, e.g. if they have more difficulties building up a successful professional career and may need financial assistance, e.g. to buy a first house.

Disinherit your parents

If you have no children, your parents inherit together with your brothers and sisters (and their descendants): in that case each parent receives one quarter – the rest (1/2 or 3/4) is distributed between the siblings). You can disinherit your siblings, but you can only disinherit your parents by making a Will in favour of your spouse

Decide who gets what

By drawing up a Will, you can leave specific assets to specific beneficiaries. E.g. you can decide that your son gets your collection of watches and that your daughter gets her mother's jewellery.

Make specific bequests to third parties,

You can use a Will to leave small sums of money to some friends or relatives or give to charity (within the limits explained below).

Exclude conversion

As explained above, both the bare owners and the surviving spouse have the right to buy out the other ; if you do not want your children, you can deny your heirs the right to ask their other parent for the conversion of the usufruit 

 

Appoint a guardian 

If you have underage children, i.e. under the age of 18, you can appoint a guardian,  

Funeral arrangements

You can also decide in your Will what funeral arrangements you want (cremation, burial, where ... ).

Appoint an executor 

Although you do not have to, you can appoint an executor, to make sure that your heirs respect your last wishes; that may also be useful if you need the Belgian Will to have effect in the U.K. or Ireland.

Tax planning 

A Will is also useful for tax planning.

Since there is no inheritance tax between husband and wife and between registered partners on the family home in Flanders or in Brussels, it can be advantageous to leave the family home to the surviving spouse or partner.

Another useful planning technique is to skip a generation by making bequests directly to grandchildren, spread the estate over as many people as possible and reduce the inheritance tax.