By Yolanda Bokhorst

Don’t we all want the best for our children? We provide them with a safe and sheltered home, we raise them well, make sure they get an education and try to give them the tools to find their way through an increasingly complex world.

What role does money play in all of this? The question that arises is of course how we can best transfer our assets to our children – the following generation(s).

Dutch Taxes

Many people think that this largely involves trying to reduce taxes. Of course, taxes play a role, but opinions differ as to whether minimizing taxes should be the determining factor.

Be it as it may, when you live in the Netherlands, you deal with two types of taxes when you transfer property: gift tax and inheritance tax. Gift tax is owed by the recipient over any gifts made by a donor during their lifetime. Inheritance tax is due by the beneficiary over what they inherit upon the death of a person. The rates of these two taxes are the same. Both gift tax and inheritance tax have exemptions – these are not the same; you can find the rates and exemptions on

When determining whether taxes are due, the Netherlands applies the principle of domicile: if the donor or deceased lived in the Netherlands, Dutch inheritance and gift tax apply. If a home that is located in the Netherlands is gifted, transfer tax also applies, but when a home is inherited, it does not. When shares in a privately-owned company are gifted or inherited, then in some cases income tax is due. In short, when it comes to estate planning, there can be a maze of tax consequences.

Foreign Taxes

From an international perspective, taxes have not been harmonized, and personally I believe this will be hard to accomplish. The plain fact is that each country has its own tax rules. These various rules can apply when a non-Dutch person, who is living in the Netherlands, gifts something to their children or passes away here. This could give rise to double taxation, should the country of nationality levy taxes based on nationality while the Netherlands levies taxes based on domicile. In this case, it is up to tax treaties or unilateral regulations to make sure that double taxation is avoided – or at least limited as much as possible.

Estate Planning

The aim of estate planning is to limit the tax effects of the transfer of your assets to the next generation. The basic principle in the Netherlands is that the entire family profits most if the assets are split 50-50 among the parents first, after which they are passed on to the children in two equal parts. This allows everyone to make optimal use of the gift and inheritance tax exemptions and rates.

The next point to consider is whether the assets should be transferred before or after the death of the parents. Sometimes, it is a good idea to gift them and to accept the consequences of gift tax (at a lower rate), knowing that more taxes might be due if it is all inherited in one go.

Three Pillars

In short, there are three different areas in which matters must be arranged –   all of which must be coordinated with each other:

–    Matrimonial Property Law: a prenup can help you ensure that your assets are split 50-50 over both parents. When the first parent passes away, the first half goes to the children, when the second parent passes away, the second half does.

–   A gifting plan: when and what do you gift your (grand)children? And how much should you hold on to for now, for yourself?

–      The will: how do you ensure that, after your death, the assets go to the right persons?

The aim of estate planning is to limit the tax effects of the transfer of your assets to the next generation

No Trust

In Common Law countries, many people make use of a trust to arrange matters. This is not only often fiscally advantageous, but it is also an excellent way to manage the assets. This helps avoid that children, at a young age, have a say in what happens to the family assets. In the Netherlands, no one makes use of trusts. It is not fiscally attractive and therefore quickly becomes unappealing. Trusts set up abroad might be recognized in the Netherlands, but then they have to meet certain criteria. Which means that their fiscal consequences in the Netherlands remain unclear.

Limiting the Children’s Say

In the Netherlands,  administrators are appointed in order to avoid that children (who are too young) have control over what they are gifted or what they inherit. A parent who gifts something can remain  administrator until the child reaches a certain age. This way, the child cannot access the assets themself. Of course, the assets can be used for ‘wise’ things, but the person who decides whether this is the case is the administrator, and not the child.

In a will, you can also appoint an administrator , who will manage the assets your children inherit upon your death. Depending on the type of assets, there are other ways of limiting the say your children have over them. But this is something I can go into in more detail some other time.


Estate planning has to be tailor-made. It should take into account not only fiscal aspects, but also the way you want your assets managed within the family. A civil law notary, who is specialized in international inheritance law, can tell you more about this.


Yolanda Bokhorst is a deputy civil law notary with Ohmann Notariaat in Wassenaar.

She can be contacted at tel.: 070 – 312 31 31 or by e-mail:

Recently Posted on

If you’re an expat living and looking for work in the Netherlands then there are some vital differences you should know about in regards to your job applications. In the Netherlands, as with most places in Europe, the norm is a CV rather than the resume which is commonly used in the United States amongst … Continue reading "The Difference Between a Resume and a CV"
It is that time of year again; the new and annually-updated version of The Holland Handbook is here and ready to be enjoyed! Not only that, but this is the 23rd edition! More than twenty years ago, a modest group of three people sat around a table to discuss the possibility of creating a handbook … Continue reading "The Holland Handbook 2023"
Rising mortgage interest rates can have a significant impact on homebuyers and homeowners. The average interest rate for a fixed-rate mortgage in the Netherlands is currently around 4% to 5%. As interest rates increase, the cost of borrowing money to purchase or refinance a home also increases. This can make it more difficult for potential … Continue reading "Mortgage Interest Rates in the Netherlands in 2023"
Now as an expat you have probably already noticed that the Dutch take their biking pretty seriously. They’re everywhere! Maybe best not to go into all the details of why the Dutch love their two-wheeler so much - but actually, most of the time, it is easier to get anywhere in the Netherlands by bike … Continue reading "How to Insure your E-bike"
Obviously, the decision to move to the Netherlands is not one to be taken lightly. A lot comes into play. Once you have decided to finally relocate, you could probably use some help preparing for your big move. A lot of companies have found a way to cater to the needs of expats coming to … Continue reading "Help me move to the Netherlands!"
Gardening has become a popular hobby in the Netherlands. It's not surprising, considering how green and lush it is outdoors! But what if you want to have plants in your home or office with little or no access to natural light? This guide will teach you everything you need to know about indoor gardening in … Continue reading "Your guide to Indoor Plants in The Netherlands"

What are the Benefits of Having Sim ...

When you have just moved to the Netherlands, you will have to take care of ...

Economical, Not Stingy

Most of the work I do consists of giving 1 or 2-day workshops and ... And to ‘ease’ the delegates into to the subject of culture, I start talking about ...

Getting Connected in the Netherland ...

There are several criteria that are important to consider when choosing a mobile phone service ...

The Media in the Netherlands

As an expat, you have a wide range of media outlets on offer to you ...

Dutch Gardens and Curtains

There are some specific and quintessential Dutch traditions, surrounding gardens and curtains in the Netherlands ...

Pets in the Netherlands

The Dutch truly love their furry friends, and have a unique way of treating them ...

Recycling & Waste Management in the ...

You might find that there are more rules and regulations surrounding recycling and waste management ...

Safety in the Netherlands

In general the Netherlands is a very safe country to live in. Drug-related crime ...

Household Help in the Netherlands

Getting some household help in the Netherlands can make your hectic life a bit more ...

Dutch Food

You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to food in the Netherlands. For ...