Expatica news

Unwed partners could gain new inheritance rights

2 May 2005

BRUSSELS – A draft law under discussion by the Belgian government grants inheritance rights to unwed couples, Belga news agency reported on Monday.

A legal statute stipulating the rights of unmarried co-habiting couples has existed in Belgium since 1998.

But it is nothing more than an empty shell offering few rights to such couples.

When it comes to inheritance rights, for instance, it offers no additional rights vis-à-vis the family members of a deceased partner.

The draft law aims to grant individuals the right to inherit a shared home and the furniture within after the partner they have shared it with has passed away.

This could help avoid painful scenarios in which the surviving partner could be put out on the street by greedy family members of the deceased partner, even though the unwed couple may have shared a home for several years.

In the past three years more than 65,000 co-habitation contracts have been signed in Belgium, compared to an annual figure of about 40,000 marriages.

But the co-habitation contracts grant partners far fewer legal rights.

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject : Belgian news