Brussels-Capital Region and Walloon Region

Submitting a declaration of estate: when, who, how, what and where?

  • When should I submit a declaration of estate?

    A declaration of estate must be submitted when the deceased person’s assets are transferred after their death.

  • Is it always necessary to submit a declaration of estate?

    In principle, it is obligatory to submit a declaration of estate.

    However, the authorities are fairly flexible, and do not require that a declaration be submitted provided that:

    1. the estate of the Belgian resident does not include any immovable assets
      and
    2. no inheritance tax is payable
  • What is the time limit for submitting a declaration of estate?

    The time limit for submitting a declaration of estate is determined by the place of death.

    The time limit is calculated in calendar days, starting on the date of death.

    if the place of death is the time limit is
    in Belgium four months
    in another European country five months
    outside Europe six months

    If the last day of the time limit is a day when the Legal Security Office (Kantoor Rechtszekerheid | Bureau Sécurité juridique | Amt Rechtssicherheit) is closed, the time limit can be extended until the date on which the Office is next open.

  • Is it possible to extend the time limit for submitting a declaration of estate?

    If the heirs experience serious difficulties, they may apply to the relevant Legal Security Office (Kantoor Rechtszekerheid | Bureau Sécurité juridique | Amt Rechtssicherheit) for an extension of the time limit.

    Please note:

    • It is not possible to apply for such an extension if the time limit for submitting the declaration of estate has already expired.
    • Payment of taxes or interest cannot be deferred on any account even if you obtain an extension of the time limit for submitting the declaration of estate.
  • What happens if the declaration of estate is submitted late?

    If the declaration is not submitted on time, each heir will incur a fine of EUR 25 per month of delay.

  • Who is required to submit a declaration of estate?

    The following persons are required to submit a declaration of estate.

    The estate of a Belgian resident

    • the heirs
    • the universal legatees

    The estate of a non-resident

    • beneficiaries of immovable assets located in Belgium which are included in the estate. Where the immovable assets are located in areas each covered by a different Legal Security Office (Kantoor Rechtszekerheid | Bureau Sécurité juridique | Amt Rechtssicherheit) and the beneficiaries are different, a separate declaration must be submitted to each relevant Office.
  • As an heir, can I make the declaration of estate myself?

    As heir, you can make the declaration of estate yourself. However, since declarations of estate require an in-depth knowledge of civil law and tax law, heirs usually call upon the services of a professional (for example, a notary).

    You can ask the Legal Security Office (Kantoor Rechtszekerheid | Bureau Sécurité juridique | Amt Rechtssicherheit) to which you submit your declaration for information on the legal requirements that the declaration must fulfil. However, registry office officials cannot be involved in preparing the declaration itself.

  • How should the declaration of estate be prepared?

    Heirs must make the declaration of estate by completing the form which is sent to them, along with the request to submit the declaration, by the competent Legal Security Office (Kantoor Rechtszekerheid | Bureau Sécurité juridique | Amt Rechtssicherheit).

    Please note: if you have not received a form, this does not mean you do not need to submit a declaration.

    What to do if you have not received a form: you can get the form from any Legal Security Office or download it here: 

    You can select either a blank declaration form (187) or a declaration form with guidance notes (187L).

    If you download the declaration form yourself, we ask that you use good-quality paper. All pages must be numbered and stapled together. At the bottom of the past page, please indicate the number of pages in the declaration: ‘This declaration consists of ... pages’.

    The declaration must set out all the elements necessary in order to calculate the inheritance tax:

    • the exact composition of the estate
    • the value of the assets
    • who is receiving what from the estate
    • etc.
  • Which assets and information do I need to include in the declaration of estate?

    The following assets and information must be included in the declaration of estate:

    A. The parties

    The declarants (the undersigned)

    The declaration of estate must be signed by all the declarants. They may, however, each submit an individual declaration.

    Please provide the following information:

    • forename(s)
    • surname
    • national identification number (in the absence of this, please provide: domicile, place and date of birth)
    • relationship to the deceased person

    If you are married, please give the forename(s) and surname of your spouse.

    The deceased person

    Please provide the following information on the deceased person:

    • forename(s)
    • surname
    • profession
    • domicile
    • place of birth
    • date of birth
    • place of death
    • date of death

    If the deceased was a Belgian resident, the declaration must disclose where they were resident for tax purposes during the five years preceding their death, including all the relevant addresses, the date each tax residence was determined and the period of time spent there.

    Disinherited heirs

    If the deceased has disinherited any heirs, either in his/her will or by contractual arrangement, the identity of those disinherited heirs must be disclosed in the declaration.

    Heirs, legatees and donees

    Please provide the following details:

    • forename(s)
    • surnames
    • national identification number
    • what is inherited by each of them

    Choosing a single address for correspondence

    The heirs, legatees or donees must choose an address to which all correspondence will be sent.

    B. Assets

    Inter vivos gifts

    Please state in the declaration whether, in the three years preceding the date of their death, the deceased made any gifts to their heirs, legatees or donees, whether the registration duties on those gifts have been paid or not.

    If inter vivos gifts have been made, please state:

    • the beneficiary of the gift
    • the value of the gift or the taxable amount on which gift tax was paid or is payable

    This rule is applicable irrespective of the date of the deed of gift if the gift has been made subject to a condition precedent which is fulfilled upon the death of the donor or less than the three years before his or her death.

    Usufruct

    It must be disclosed in the declaration if the deceased person retained the usufruct over any assets or received any assets in trust.

    If they did:

    • you must declare the nature of those assets
    • you must state who has taken full ownership of the assets or received assets in trust following the death of the deceased person

    Moveable assets (furniture etc.)

    If the deceased person has passed on any movable assets, you must disclose in the declaration whether or not those assets were insured against fire, theft or any other risk.

    If the assets were insured, the following information must be provided for all the insurance policies in force on the date of death:

    • name and address of the insurer
    • date of policy and policy number
    • assets insured and insured value

    You must also confirm specifically that, to your knowledge, the assets were not covered by any other policies.

    Taxable assets

    Belgian resident

    If the deceased was a Belgian resident, all of their estate, namely all the moveable and immovable assets in Belgium and abroad must be declared.

    Inheritance tax is payable on the estate of Belgian residents.

    Please note:
    Some assets which are not, or are no longer, part of the deceased person’s estate may still be subject to inheritance tax:

    • moveable assets disposed of free of charge in the three years preceding the date of death for which no gift registration duties have been paid
    • the capital sum or annuity payment from a life insurance policy

    For moveable assets, you must give a precise description and a valuation for each one. Examples of moveable assets which are taxable:

    • bank accounts, safes, etc.
    • cash, savings certificates, shares, etc.
    • personal effects
    • furniture
    • collections
    • cars, caravans, boats, etc.

    For immovable assets, you must provide the cadastral identification details (cadastral division and parcel number) of each immovable asset included in the estate.

    Non-resident

    If the deceased was not a Belgian resident, you only have to declare their immovable assets in Belgium.

    Liabilities (debts, funeral costs, etc.)

    Belgian resident

    If the deceased person was a Belgian resident, some expenses and debts may be deducted from the taxable assets.

    The expenses and debts that may be entered as liabilities are:

    • funeral costs:
      • coffin, headstone
      • religious service, invitations, refreshments provided on the day of the burial, etc.
    • debts of the deceased person at the time of their death:
      • expenses of last illness
      • telephone, water, gas and electricity, tax bills etc.

    Other debts may also be included as liabilities. For each debt, the following details must be provided:

    • the forename(s), surname and domicile of the creditor
    • the reason for the debt
    • if possible, the date of the deed of gift, if there is one.

    You must have evidence of the existence of the debt, the amount of the debt and the portion of debt payable by the deceased. All evidence must be enclosed with the declaration of estate. Expense reports and invoices are sufficient as evidence of funeral costs.

    Non-resident

    If the deceased was not a Belgian resident, the following liabilities may, in principle, be deducted:

    • Brussels-Capital Region: if the deceased was not a Belgian resident but their domicile or the location of their assets were established within the European Economic Area, liabilities (debts) may be taken into account if the heirs can prove that the liabilities were incurred specifically for the purpose of acquiring or retaining immovable assets in Belgium.
    • Wallonia: all debts relating specifically to immovable assets located in Belgium may be deducted as liabilities.
  • Who values the assets included in the estate?

    The heirs must estimate the value of the assets.

    The value of the assets to be declared is their market value on the date of death.

    There are two ways of determining the value of immovable assets located in Belgium:

    1. The heirs themselves may estimate the value based on recent data (e.g. the sale price of similar properties located nearby). If the authorities decide that an asset has been undervalued in the declaration of estate, they will make their own valuation and notify the heirs.
    2. The heirs may, at their own cost, have the market value of the assets appraised by one or three experts. This is known as an ‘expert appraisal’. The request for valuation must be made in a timely manner (i.e. before the date of submission of the declaration).

      The request for valuation must be made by registered letter addressed to the collector of the Legal Security Office (Kantoor Rechtszekerheid | Bureau Sécurité juridique | Amt Rechtssicherheit) where the declaration of estate is to be submitted. The market value determined by the experts is binding on the declarants and the authorities. When assets are valued in this way, their value cannot be increased.
  • Where should I submit the declaration of estate?

    The deceased was a Belgian resident

    As a rule: the declaration of estate of a Belgian resident must be submitted to the competent Legal Security Office (Kantoor Rechtszekerheid | Bureau Sécurité juridique | Amt Rechtssicherheit) for the area in which the deceased was last resident for tax purposes.

    Exception: that rule does not apply where, in the five years preceding their death, the deceased was a tax resident in more than one Belgian region (Flanders, Brussels-Capital Region, Wallonia). (See: Where should I submit the declaration of estate if, in the five years preceding their death, the deceased was a tax resident of more than one region?).

    The deceased was not resident in Belgium

    The declaration of estate of a non-resident of Belgium must be submitted to the appropriate Legal Security Office depending on the location of the deceased person’s immovable assets in Belgium.

    If one heir receives various immovable assets located in areas each covered by a different Legal Security Office, the competent Legal Security Office is the one for the area in which the properties generating the highest cadastral income are located.

  • Where should I submit the declaration of estate if, in the five years preceding their death, the deceased was a tax resident of more than one region?

    If, in the five years preceding their death, a deceased person resident in Belgium was a tax resident of more than one region, a declaration must be submitted:

    • to the competent Legal Security Office (Kantoor Rechtszekerheid | Bureau Sécurité juridique | Amt Rechtssicherheit) for the area in which the deceased was last resident for tax purposes
    • in the region which was the deceased person’s tax residence for the longest period of time during those five years

    Example:

    In the five years preceding his/her death, the deceased was a tax resident of:

    • Namur (Wallonia) for two years
    • Brussels (Brussels-Capital Region) for one year
    • Gembloux (Wallonia) for one year
    • Antwerp (Flanders) for one year.

    For most of the five-year period, the deceased was a tax resident of Wallonia (a two-year period, plus a one-year period). The declaration must be submitted to the Legal Security Office in Gembloux (the deceased’s last tax residence in Wallonia).