If your spouse or your parent exclude you from all their movable estate when they pass away you may be able to challenge the estate. Jersey law recognises the concept of forced heirship (Jersey Légitime). It restricts the freedom to leave Jersey movable estate to the detriment of a spouse/partner and or children.
How does Jersey Légitime work?
Jersey Légitime operates as follows:
- Deceased dies leaving a spouse/partner – the spouse/partner can claim two thirds of the net movable estate
- Deceased dies not leaving a spouse/partner but children – the children can claim two thirds of the net movable estate
- Deceased dies leaving a spouse/partner and children – the spouse partner can claim one third and the children can equally between them claim one third of the movable estate
- The last third of the net movable estate is free to be left to anyone
Does Jersey Légitime impact on all of my estate?
An action under Jersey Légitime is limited to movable property only. This is sometimes referred to as personal estate. Jersey Immovable estate is not impacted by Jersey Légitime. Movable property is anything owned by the deceased which is not immovable property (e.g. your freehold house).
Is Jersey Légitime an automatic right?
There is no automatic right to Jersey Légitime, it must be claimed by taking out proceedings in the Royal Court. Despite Jersey Légitime provisions, it is common for spouses/partners to leave their Jersey Movable estate to their surviving spouse/partner and nothing to their children, until the surviving spouse passes away.
What can I do if my spouse/ partner or parent has excluded me from their Jersey Movable Will?
If you discover on the passing of your spouse/partner or parent that you have been excluded from the Jersey Movable Will you can apply to the Royal Court to have it adjusted so that it operates in accordance with the Jersey légitime rules.
An action brought in this way is known as an action to reduce the Will ad legitimum modum.