Inheritance Laws Alderney


The new Inheritance Law was approved by the Alderney States members and came into effect the 1st January 2016. This replaces the requirement to have dual Wills and gives individuals full testamentary freedom in terms of their estate.

Wills signed before the 1st January 2016 will be governed by the law as explained below.

Alderney is a Common Law Jurisdiction, it does not levy any death duties or other levies; Realty (property) is dealt with separately to Personalty (personal assets – all other assets apart from property): Alderney has not adopted the recent changes that Guernsey has put in place but is in the process of updating the Legislation.

If property is held in the individual’s name then a Will of Realty should be in place to show how it is dealt with on a person’s demise. In general if there is no Will of Realty the property vests in the Clerk of the Court of Alderney who must sell the property and distribute the proceeds in accordance with strict rules.

The Will of Realty provides for testamentary freedom, in other words the owner has the right to leave the property to whomever they wish, except where a husband or wive are involved. The widower has the right of franc veuvage, this is a right to enjoy the property for the rest of his life unless he remarries. The widow has the right of dower, this is the right to enjoy one third of the husbands Realty, even if she remarries.

The portion of the estate described as Personalty, unlike the Will of Realty, does not allow for testamentary freedom. There are rules laid down as to how the assets are distributed if there is a wife or children involved, however the beneficiaries can waive their rights if they so wish.

It is only property in Alderney, held by an individual, which is subject to the Will of Realty.

Rules applying to Personalty (all assets apart from land) apply to persons who are domiciled in Alderney, and do not apply to those persons who are domiciled elsewhere.

(This should not be considered to be legal advice and is just for general guidance purposes)

If you require further information or would like to discuss this matter please contact Brendan Noone on 01481 823869 or email

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