If the deceased did not make a will or a contract of succession, the statutory heirs may apply for a certificate of inheritance; these are, depending on the case, the deceased's wife, husband, registered partner, descendants (i.e. children and their descendants) or, if applicable, parents and their children (i.e. the deceased's brothers and sisters).
If there is a will or a contract of succession, the certificate of inheritance can only be applied for after the official notice of the will or the contract is given by the competent authority.
The authority that issues the certificate of inheritance varies from canton to canton.
Ordering the certificate of inheritance.
In order to obtain a certificate of inheritance, you must, among other things:
submit a copy of the death certificate (you can obtain this from the register office),
prove that you are entitled to inherit (e.g. by providing an extract from the civil status register showing your family relationship or civil relationship with the deceased , or a copy of the will or contract of succession),
prove that you have not renounced your inheritance (i.e. by submitting the declaration of acceptance by all heirs or
proof that the period in which it would have been possible to renounce the inheritance has expired).
The cost of issuing a certificate of inheritance varies from case to case; it depends on what enquiries are needed and the time the authority had to spend on them in order to be able to issue you with the certificate of inheritance. The costs can amount to several hundred or even a few thousand francs. In addition, there are the costs that the civil register office charges for issuing the documents and obtaining information in Switzerland and abroad.