Inheritance: What is the rule of representation?

Verified 12 December 2023 - Legal and Administrative Information Directorate (Prime Minister)

The representation rule allows certain family members of a deceased person to inherit in their place:

  • Children of the deceased and their own descendants
  • Brothers and sisters of the deceased and their own descendants

They say they come by representation.

Please note

For each of the two heir lines, the closest descendant always excludes the furthest one.

Example :

Jean has 2 children: Michel and Sophie.

Sophie has 2 children: Caroline and Bruno.

Sophie dies before her father Jean.

For the succession of Jean, Caroline and Bruno will represent their mother Sophie. They inherit from him, that is to say half of the estate, the other half coming to their uncle Michel.

Representation shall not take place in favor of ascendants.


the representation mechanism also applies when an heir renounces the estate and in case of inheritance indignity.

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