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Dutch Wills, Testaments & Guardianship


Every expat parent should have a Dutch will to avoid legal or tax-related problems, should the un-thinkable happen.

Very basically, expat parents living in Holland should be aware of (at least) two things if you have not organised your Dutch will & testament:


If your children are minors, living here in Holland, and both parents die, then a legal guardian will be appointed by the Dutch court. Your family may not take custody of the children (yet). Because the premise is that the courts will look after the best interests of the child: they will first go through the process of searching for a will / testament to establish legal guardianship – as the parents wished.  This could take a long time if parents have not registered their will at a Dutch notary. Also important is to appoint an administrator / executor for the children’s trust.

This law will apply from the day you move into Holland and become a resident.

If you are not married, live together and have children, a will and a co-habitation agreement are a must.


When you live in a foreign land, it can be so much more complicated when you die without a will. If you have lived (resided) in Holland for more than 5 years, then Dutch Law will apply to your estate. If you have lived here for less than 5 years, your home country will is still legal (if it exists) and will apply. Consider all your assets in different countries and the different tax demands. It is helpful to have international tax and legal advice.

You may make a new will in Holland with a “choice of (foreign) law”, change the “statutory distribution” and appoint other heirs to your estate. However, it must be registered with a Dutch notary.

And, to make an appointment with a Notary, contact Yolanda Bokhorst from Van Buttingha Wichers Notaries.