Children have a special position in inheritance law. Your parents may choose to disinherit you. In principle, however, a child is always entitled to a part of the inheritance. You are entitled to the legitimate portion. This legitimate portion consists of all assets minus the debts translated into a sum of money. So in principle you cannot be completely disinherited by your parents.

What is the legal portion?

By law, the legitimate portion is half of the regular child portion. You will therefore receive half of what you would normally have received if no will had been drawn up.

How is the Legitimate Portion Calculated?

The value over which the legitimate portion is calculated is called the legitimate mass. The legitimacy mass is calculated by means of the monetary value of the estate’s goods. These are all items that were present on the day of death. In principle, donations/gifts made by the deceased parent to the heirs during life must be added to this. In the law we then find in Article 4:7 paragraph 1 of the Dutch Civil Code which debts can be deducted from the legitimate portion. These are, for example, the costs of the funeral, but not the inheritance tax.

How do I claim my legal portion?

You must claim the legal portion from the other heirs and/or the executor within 5 years after the death. This is an expiry period. If you fail to do so, you forfeit your right to claim the legitimate portion. It is therefore advisable to make this claim by registered letter. It is important to keep proof of receipt of your claim. Your legal portion becomes due and payable six months after your death.

Claiming the legitimate share is often a complicated matter because it is common that the disinherited person has not visited the parents for quite some time. An inheritance lawyer can then help to uncover the right information to properly determine the value of the legitimate portion.


If you have any questions about how best to claim the legitimate portion, you can reach me on +31 20 696 3000. Then ask for Diederik Ruys.