Did you know that if you are a Chilean resident, the state decides who your heirs will be? No cats allowed in wills here–which sounds like a pretty decent policy–but you can’t leave it all to your wife or husband or children or mother or favorite charity either. Surprised? Read on, and then listen in to this week’s “Cachando Chile on the Air” (www.santiagoradio.cl).
Last week on Cachando Chile on the Air we talked about family-related issues, and the topic that generated the most interest was inheritance. Chilean law is based on Civil Law (inspired by Roman law and also known as Continental Law), in which inheritance is determined by the state. This is very different from the Common Law system used in the UK and US, where individuals have the right to decide who will inherit their estates.
(Many thanks to Katina, who wrote to comment that I originally had the civil vs common law bit backwards!)
Each side has its points and drawbacks—and the people who live within each system sees their own as the most fair.
This is an important issue for foreigners living in Chile (as well as for Chileans living in countries with common law systems), so we’ve invited an expert to come talk with us on the show tomorrow (Wednesday, 6-8 pm Santiago time / 4-6 pm EST).
Chilean tax attorney Darío Romero, of the Albagli Zaliasnik law firm here in Santiago will join us on the air and answer our questions about the ins and outs of inheritance laws.
We’ll be asking him just exactly how Chile’s 4 quarters system works and how it’s used to determine who gets what.
And then of course there are all those hypothetical situations we’re curious about, so we’ll ask him some of those too in order to see how the system works when we push it outside the textbook box.
Some practical questions are in order as well, such as whether the proceeds from life insurance policies are included in the estate, what happens with financial gifts during life, whether Chile has “clawback laws” as some European countries do, how you can provide for someone who may not be on the government’s radar, and what happens in marriages with partners from different countries—whose country rules the estate?
It promises to be a great show, and if you have some specific question you’d like us to ask him, please leave a comment here or send a message through “Contact” and let us know what inheritance issues are on your mind!
For more on this subject, see: “Is the Heir a Parent? Demystifying Chilean Inheritance Laws“