Sibling Inheritance: Rules and Advice

Many single people without children may want to leave their assets to their siblings after they pass away. If this is the case, you should know that there are laws and regulations regarding inheritance rights and tax rates between siblings in Belgium.

In this article, learn about the main sibling inheritance regulations in Belgium.

Sibling inheritance laws and regulations in Belgium 

In Belgium, if a deceased person had not made a will, their siblings may have the rights to their inheritance under certain conditions.
If the deceased had children and a spouse, their estate automatically goes to them. The spouse receives usufruct while the children receive bare ownership.
If the deceased had a spouse but no children, a large portion of the estate will go to the spouse, but siblings may have the rights to a share.
If the deceased did not have a legal spouse but had children, the siblings of the deceased have no right to his or her estate. However, if they had neither spouse nor children, the succession will be taken over by their parents and privileged collaterals, i.e. siblings. The latter may receive the entire estate if both parents are deceased. 

Inheritance tax applicable on sibling inheritance

Inheritance tax in Belgium varies according to the heir’s relationship to the deceased. For example, applicable rates vary greatly between a child who inherits from a parents and someone who inherits from their siblings. These rates also depend on where the deceased lived in the 5 years before death and the amount inherited.
In Flanders, sibling inheritance tax varies between 25% and 55% according to a tax bracket scale. In Brussels, there are 7 tax brackets for sibling inheritance tax, ranging from 20% to 65%. In Wallonia, there are 5 inheritance tax brackets ranging from 20% to 65%.

Exemptions and possible deductions on sibling inheritance tax

Every Belgian region has its own regulations regarding inheritance tax rate exemptions and deductions. Here are some of the conditions specific to sibling inheritance tax.

Wallonia

In Wallonia, heirs (other than direct heirs, spouse or legal cohabitant) may be exempted from inheritance tax if the net assets of the estate are less than €620. 
If the heir has at least 3 children under 21 years of age who still live with them at the time of death, the heir also has the right to inheritance tax deductions of 2% per child, up to €62 per child.

Brussels

In Brussels, all inheritors whose net inheritance is less than €1250 are exempt from paying inheritance tax.
Like in Wallonia, heirs or successors with at least 3 children under 21 years of age can benefit from a 2% deduction on the inheritance tax rates, up to a maximum of €62 per child. 

Flanders
 

In Flanders, deductions can apply to sibling inheritance tax if the net inheritance is less than €75,000.
 

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In conclusion, a deceased’s siblings do not automatically have the rights to inheritance, except under certain conditions. The deceased’s siblings only receive the full inheritance if the deceased had no living spouse or children, and if both parents have already passed.
Do you want to know more about sibling inheritance or legal heirs in general in Belgium? The experts at Morning Blue can answer all of your questions and help you with end of life planning.

Contact us to speak with our specialists.