Retiring in Belgium

Hello everyone,

Why did you choose to retire in Belgium? What are the advantages compared with your home country?

What were your main considerations when deciding to move? For example, taxes, ease of transferring your pension, etc..

Are there any specific formalities you had to go through as a retiree moving to Belgium (for example, is there a particular retirement visa)?

What is Belgium's healthcare like? Have you had any good or bad experiences dealing with healthcare professionals?

Do you have any tips for other retirees in Belgium?

Thank you for sharing your experience.

Priscilla

Hello. I retired to Belgium from the UK 11 years ago after takeing early retirement to live with my now Belgium wife.
I try very hard to learn and understand Flemish but it is a difficult language to understand but the majority of Belgium people speak English so tend to take the easy option.
Belgium has a few strange laws that all expat should be aware of especially inheritance and leaving property and posseions to your children.
I have two English children from my previous marriage and my wife a Belgium daughter from her previous marraige.
I am not 100% sure of these laws but understand that regardless of our will which splits our property and posseions equally between the three children it is not always so.
Due to our marriage situation if one or the other dies the children of that person can demand their share of 50% of the estate. Meaning the remainig person would need to sell the property to
complete this request.
This is a topic I have tried to research but can not confirm this very strange situation and would appreciate any of your members comments on this very unusual situation.

Also be careful of any uk private pension you may receive in Belgium even though it may be paid initially in the uk. The tax rates are Upto 40% on the money received eventually here in Belgium.
Expats should also be aware of the health scheme in Belgium and make sure that you take out medical insurance to cover any eventualities.

Also find a good local doctor where is most towns there are plenty to choose from.
Strange but you pay for a consult approx 25 euros then claim 20 euros back.
Also if you are over 60 dental check ups are the same procedure and if you visit twice a
Year the cost is less than 25 euros.
Once you get used to driving on the opposite side of the road driving is pretty easy in Belgium.
A couple of tips Belgium drivers do not use indicators at roundabouts that's my experience.
They like to drive very close Upto you on motorways and very fast.
Also there a few fixed speed cameras but plenty of hidden stationery unmarked police cars with speed cameras. I know so beware .

On the positive side  Belgium has lots of culture and beautiful areas to visit.
Also their are many Costal places to visit which are not too far from major cities.
Enjoy the culture and of course the famous Belgian beers.
Remember when you order chips the Belgiums always have mayonnaise ** Zeek ***
I would appreciate any comments regarding inheritance and children as this is a very grey area.

Kind Regards
Steve

Yes with inheritence you need to be careful. As far as I know you cannot "leave a will" in Belgium if you have shall we say a "standard" family setup. You can only leave a will if your family is deceased and you want to leave it to someone else. There are work arounds. Also remember the succession taxes, they are ridiculously high (up to 90% as far as I have read) if you leave anything to people outside of your family. A good way to evade these taxes or leave property to specific children is to let ownership be given to them before you die in agreement (under contract). My husbands mom did this. this means that the property is put in name of the person you want to have it (they "buy" it from the estate so to speak) and you have "vruchtgebruik" as long as you live. They cant put you out of the property. Be wary of giving property or fixed assets "as a gift" to avoid paying high inheritance taxes as they are also taxed heavily. It is complicated. You can speak to a "notaris" about your situation. Usually the first consult (for general advice) is free. They will be able to help you find the most advantageous solution to give the family members you want the most of their inheritance and not lose all of it to the tax system.

Hi Felicia
Many thanks for your reply to my message.
You are correct the Belgium inheritance laws are far more complicated than
my own country England.
The only uncertain question I still have is if my wife or myself dies.
I UNDERSTAND that the children of the remaining party can demand their share of the estate
Of their parent that has died.
This will mean the remaining partner will need to sell the property to pay out
their partners children.
This seem a very strange law of correct.
It would mean for example if I wanted to sell our property and move back to the UK
I could not do this because my wife daughter would demand her share of the estate
once sold.
This is a terrible law if correct

Kind Regards
Steve

If you die, your wife gets "vruchtgebruik" and the other way round too. So they cant sell the property out under you. You would need to go to the notaris for the details on selling the property, that I am not so sure of. Find one that speaks english and inform by them. I have done this before, the first appointment is usually free consult. Get as much on contract before you pass away. Really best way to go is see a notaris. Another option to consider is selling the property now and considering moving to England. It could me much more advantageous financially as your wife (as far as I know) retains her Belgian pension there and the tax costs are less in UK. Could be wrong, so once again: legal aid.

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