How long does an usufruct last?

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On this site, Victoria will explain the duration of the usufruct for when the usufructuary is both natural person and legal entity.

1. What does it mean to have a "usufruct"?

Usufruct is the temporary right to use and enjoy a property belonging to another person (called the "naked owner").

The usufruct must be exercised just like a normal and prudent person would do, in accordance with the purpose of the property.

The usufruct may relate to movable or immovable goods, tangible or intangible property, or to a specific set of such goods.

At the end of the right of usufruct, the property must be returned to its naked owner.

2. What is the duration of the usufruct?

As the definition of usufruct reveals, this right is only temporary and therefore limited in time.

The duration can be either definite or indefinite.

However, if nothing is contractually provided, the following rules apply:

  • Maximum 99 years unless the usufructuary - in the case of a natural person - lives longer;
  • The usufruct does not continue after the death of a person enjoying the right of usufruct.

3. What if a company enjoys a usufruct?

Companies may also be granted usufruct rights. The rules in respect of the duration also apply to companies.

The legislator expressly ruled that the declaration of bankruptcy or the voluntary, legal or judicial dissolution of a company is considered to be equal to "the death of a person" and therefore terminates the usufruct.

However, a merger, demerger or a similar operation will not result in the termination of the usufruct, unless contractually stipulated otherwise.

If the right of usufruct should be retained despite any of the events above, this must be taken into account, especially in the event of voluntary dissolution.

For all your questions about the establishment of a usufruct, its duration and its termination, please consult the specialists of Seeds of Law on +32 (0)2 747 40 07 or via

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Contact our experts or telephone +32 (0)2 747 40 07
Leo Peeters

Leo Peeters

Koen de Puydt

Koen de Puydt

Ulrike Beuselinck

Ulrike Beuselinck

Gloria Inés Delgado Villegas

Gloria Inés Delgado Villegas

Senior Counsel