Belgian bank accounts no longer blocked when partner dies

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In future the partner of the deceased will be able to withdraw money from both joint and individual bank accounts. Until now such accounts were blocked when one of the named account holders died.

Starting next Monday, the surviving partner will be able to withdraw cash up to EUR 5,000.

Until now, when somebody died, all his or her accounts, as well as joint accounts and the accounts of the surviving partner, were all blocked.

This was to ensure that any inheritance was divided up correctly.

First it had to be established who the heirs were and what the exact amount of the inheritance was.

Often, though, this procedure led to problems, because the surviving partner could not touch his or her money.

The new measures will mean that the surviving partner can withdraw half the amount deposited on all such accounts up to a limit of EUR 5,000.

People who ignore this limit and withdraw more can expect to be penalised.

Anthony Wittesaele of the Federation of Belgian Solicitors says that by withdrawing money people are saying that they accept their inheritance. This means that they will have to pay any outstanding debts.

The amount of money withdrawn before any settlement is later subtracted from the inheritance.

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