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Sharing your life with someone

If you decide to move in with someone, get married or enter a registered partnership, you need to consider the impact on your finances, taxes, retirement and estate planning. Careful advance planning will ensure peace of mind for both of you when it comes to buying or selling your home, starting a family, separating or getting a divorce, and retiring.

A time for change

Size up your finances

The first step to ensuring that both you and your spouse or partner are financially protected is to size up your respective finances. You’ll also need to be aware of a few important legal issues. Your BCV advisor will guide you in this process and provide advice as you look to the future.

Spouses and registered partners

When you tie the knot, your tax situation will change. For starters, you'll be filing a joint tax return. And you’ll need to reassess your pension coverage in light of your new circumstances. You should also be aware that Swiss law grants spouses and registered partners certain inheritance and property-division rights in the event of divorce or death.

Some questions for spouses and registered partners to consider

  • Will you end up paying more or less in taxes?
  • Are you sufficiently insured in the event of disability?
  • If one of you dies, what happens to your jointly-owned home?

Living together

Couples who choose to live together have fewer rights under Swiss law than those who marry or enter into a registered partnership. That means that it's up to you to make the necessary arrangements to ensure you both have sufficient financial protection during your life together and in the event of death. Were you aware that couples living together are not recognized under Switzerland’s first pillar (social security) system, and may not be by second-pillar (occupational) pension funds either?

One option is to prepare a notarized contract. Your BCV advisor can help you with this and all other arrangements.

Some questions for couples living together to consider

  • If one of you dies, will the other one receive a widow/widower's pension
  • How will your property be divided in the event of separation or death?
  • If one of you dies, will the other inherit your jointly-owned home?
  • What do you need to know about retirement planning?

What you need to know


Marriage and registered partnerships

Couples living together

Swiss law

  • Recognizes the relationship.
  • Does not recognize the relationship.
  • The couple must therefore make their own arrangements in terms of mutual rights.


Pillar 1 (social security)

  • Social security income from each spouse/partner is added together and half is paid into each person's account.
  • The sum of the spouses’/partners’ pensions is capped at 150% of the maximum pension.

Pillar 2 (occupational pension)

  • If the marriage/partnership ends, the occupational pension funds are divided equally regardless of the type of marital property agreement.
  • In the event of divorce, retirement, or death, the spouse/partner with the lower pension will see an increase.

Pillar 1 (social security)

  • Social security accounts are kept separate.
  • Each partner will receive up to 100% of the maximum pension.

Pillar 2 (occupational pension)

  • In the event of death, the surviving partner receives none of the widow(er)'s pension benefits from the occupational pension fund unless the pension fund regulations specifically authorize it.


  • One joint tax return.
  • The family quotient rises from 1.0 to 1.8 (which implies a tax discount), yet the tax burden on the combined income rises owing to the progressive nature of Swiss tax rates.
  • No gift or inheritance tax between spouses/partners.
  • Two tax returns.
  • The family quotient is 1.0 for each person (no discount), and incomes are not combined for tax purposes so progressive tax rates are not an issue.
  • High inheritance tax.

End of relationship (divorce, death)

  • Property division set forth by law..
  • No sharing of property, so a personal inventory is needed.
  • Clarifying inheritance rights in a notarized contract is a possibility.


  • Specific property-division rules to benefit the surviving spouse can be set up with help of a notary.
  • The partner is not a legal heir, so it is important to draw up a will to include that person.

Next step

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