Inheritance tax and inheritance law in Senegal

July 02, 2015

The Global Property Guide looks at inheritance from two angles: taxation, and what inheritance laws apply to foreigners leaving property in Senegal: what restrictions there are and whether making a will is advisable.


Inheritance tax is levied on property acquired by inheritance or gift. Different rules apply on property acquired by inheritance and property acquired by gift.

Each beneficiary is liable to pay the tax on his inheritance or gift. The applicable tax rate depends on the relationship between the deceased or donor and the heir or beneficiary.


Husband, wife, and linear descendants 3%
Other heirs 10%
Source: Global Property Guide


Husband or wife 3%
Linear descendants 5%
Brothers, sisters 7.5%
Uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces 15%
Other beneficiaries 20%
Source: Global Property Guide

A basic allowance of CFA150 million (€228,673) is available for Senegalese individuals.


What inheritance laws apply in Senegal?

Senegal inheritance laws affect foreigners who own property in Senegal.

The Code de la famille (Family Code) is applicable to property located in Senegal. Foreign property-owners who are members of different religions, or different nationalities, or foreigners who do not reside locally, are not treated differently.

The general principle is that the Senegalese laws and Court have jurisdiction in over all property located in Senegal.

The Tribunal Departemental (Departmental or County Court) has jurisdiction to deal with inheritance issues.

The relevant Court in inheritance issues is the one corresponding to the place where the person died. In each county there is a Tribunal Departemental. This Court renders decisions pertaining to non-resident foreigners whose property is located in Senegal.

The duration of inheritance cases depends on how the heirs intend to settle the inheritance issues.

  • If they execute an agreement amicably, it is sealed by the Court. In this case, the Court will not review the merits of the case, but only check to determine if a public order law gas been breached.
  • If the settlement is contentious, i.e., there is a dispute between the heirs, the process make take 2 to 6 years, depending on whether there is a recourse or not to the judgment of the Tribunal Departemental

There is a reserved portion in Senegalese law.

The 'reserved portion' is 2/3rds of the estate. The deceased, during his/her life-time, cannot give away assets in the reserved portion.

The reserved portion goes to certain definite persons, as defined below. These rules apply to foreigners and members of different religions.

If the Muslim rules of Sharia integrated in the Family Code are applied,

then the heirs are the children of the deceased, his parents (father and mother), and the surviving husband/wife. The portion allotted to each heir depends on the presence or not of descendants and upon their sex. In the presence of descendants the reserved portions are: father: 1/6, mother: 1/6, surviving spouse(s): 1/8, descendants: 1 share of the residual for each male, and the half for female.

If the common rules of the Family Code are applied,

i,e, in the case of non-Muslims, the estate is distributed differently. The presence of children excludes ascendants (father and mother) and any other heirs except for the surviving spouse(s). No distinction based on sex is applicable. The surviving spouse(s) take 1/4 and the residual ¾ of the estate is distributed between the descendants in equal shares.

Marriage settlements.

The marriage settlement is taken into account with respect to inheritance issues between spouses.

The Court applies the law of the country where the marriage settlement was made. A married couple's property that is jointly owned, may become part of this settlement, regardless of whether it was acquired by the spouse in his/her own name or in co-ownership.

If there was an agreement that a married couple's property should be jointly owned, the property acquired during the marriage belongs to the couple. In the event of death, the surviving spou