German Inheritance Law

German Inheritance Law - if you have inherited in Germany, we are there to assist and support you in English. www.donat-ebert.com German Inheritance Law - we support you in English, if you have inherited in Germany.

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18/07/2017

"I live in Africa and have inherited in Germany. What can I do?"

Well, short answer: give me the job, I do it for you.

More details needed:

We need the involvement of the German Embassy in your country, within the Embassy it is the Department for Consular and Legal Affairs whose support we need.

This is necessary to have an authorization signed in front of one the officials from the Embassy in order to authenticate the documents. It might also be necessary that you give an affidavit or declaration in lieu of an oath in front of one of the consular officials.

But unfortunately the Embassy cannot and will not do any more than that for you. Once you have the documents, you proceed on your own. This is where you need the services of a German lawyer.

But once I have the relevant documents, I can do the whole job for you - from getting the certificate of inheritance from the competent court until the payment of what is yours on your bank account in your country. No traveling needed - apart from maybe within your country to get to the German Embassy.

And you don´t have to be afraid as concerns the money:

I always formulate my authorization to dispose over the money in the bank in the way that the full sum - minus my fee that we agreed upon before - goes immediately to your account. This way you are in full safety and don't have to worry for a second.

I have done it many times - try me.

"I live in Africa and have inherited in Germany. What can I do?"

Well, short answer: give me the job, I do it for you.

More details needed:

We need the involvement of the German Embassy in your country, within the Embassy it is the Department for Consular and Legal Affairs whose support we need.

This is necessary to have an authorization signed in front of one the officials from the Embassy in order to authenticate the documents. It might also be necessary that you give an affidavit or declaration in lieu of an oath in front of one of the consular officials.

But unfortunately the Embassy cannot and will not do any than that for you. Once you have the documents, you proceed on your own.

But once I have the relevant documents, I can proceed in Germany for you. .

I can do the whole job for you - from getting the certificate of inheritance from the competent court until the payment of what is yours on your bank account in your country. No traveling needed - apart from maybe within your country to get to the German Embassy.

And you don´t have to be afraid as concerns the money:

I always formulate my authorization to dispose over the money in the bank in the way that the full sum - minus my fee that we agreed upon before - goes immediately to your account. This way you are in full safety and don't have to worry for a second.

I have done it many times - try me.

http://german-inheritance-law.com

21/02/2017

Last wills of foreigners in Germany

Very often I meet with testaments written by foreigners living in Germany. And all too often I experience that German Court and German colleagues find those testaments to be invalid. Because they are not in line with the formal requirements prescribed by German Inheritance law.

But this is very often a very serious, a fatal error.

German International Private Law as Concerns International Inheritance cases clearly says that a testament does not have to fulfill the formal necessities of German Law.

It can also suffice, if the testament is in accordance with the formal requirements of the legal systems the testator is a national of.

Or the testament is in harmony with the law of the legal system where it was written.

In other words: When you have a cross-border situation of any kind in connection with the testament, you should consult an expert in International Inheritance Law.

If you need me, you find my availabilities here:

https://donat-ebert.com/kapcsolat-contact-kontakt/

08/02/2017

"I give unto my wife my second best bed with the furniture" - or the importance of compulsory share in German Inheritance Law

Whether William Shakespeare held a grudge against his wife or rather wanted to express his affection to her by this clause (as it seems some historians think they have found out today), I cannot decide.

But I want to take this passage of Shakespeare´s last will to illustrate what a "compulsory share" means in German Inheritance Law today.

The rules that close relatives (defined by § 2303 of the German Civil Code as descendants, spouses and parents) are entitled to a "compulsory share" considerably limit the freedom of the testator to dispose over his/her property.

According to German law such close relatives cannot be totally excluded from getting a part, a "share" of the estate.

If the testator excluded them by his/her last will, they still have the right to claim the "compulsory share" - which is half of what they would have got in the case of intestacy.

In practice of German Law, the surviving spouse usually gets half of the value of the estate, depending on the matrimonial property regime the spouses lived their marriage in.

Details are complicated and you find more information hereto on my website www.german-inheritance-law.com.

But according to today´s German Law Shakespeare´s wife would have received more than just the second-best bed.

If you need advice for a concrete case, you can contact me under:
[email protected]

german-inheritance-law.com 01/02/2017

German Inheritance Law - Dr. Donat Ebert

Getting information about the content and extent of the estate can be a big problem in Germany.

This is particularly true, if those entitled are far away, do not speak the language, do not know the law and cannot really travel to Germany to get information.

And this is exactly what many of my countrymen and -women take advantage of - they keep those abroad at arm´s length away from the essential insight as to what belongs to the estate.

A recent judgement from Higher Regional Court in Hamm can help here. They stated: Access to the inheritance case file has to be fully granted, also to those who are entitled to compulsory share or to legatees, OLG Hamm, sentence from 26.08.2016, 15 W 73/16.

So if you are heir, legatee or you are entitled to a compulsory share of the estate, you have the possibility to get some more information from the Court by asking for the case-file. And the case-file might contain a list of the estate (particularly if the heirs asked for a certificate of inheritance).

This can be either a good starting-point to get information or a basis to check whether the information you got "from Germany" is true.

You should trust a competent lawyer to get the case-file for you and then get advice as to how to proceed.

http://german-inheritance-law.com/

german-inheritance-law.com German Inheritance Law - International Inheritance Cases

25/01/2017

German Inheritance Law: No hierarchy between different testaments

German Inheritance Law knows different kinds of testaments: the hand written private one and the one prepared in front a public notary.

Between the two there is no hierarchy in the sense that the one os of more value than the other. Both are equal in rank.

The only rule existing is that a testament written later overrules of the earlier.

This means in practice that for example a "notarial" written in 2012 can be overruled by a "private" testament written in 2014.

What can be a tricky question is whether the "younger" one it was meant to completely set out of effect the older one. But this is a question of interpretation as to the content. not of rank between the testaments.

18/01/2017

German Inheritance Law: No real probate procedure by the courts in Germany

Many jurisdictions in Europe and across the world know a "probate procedure", which involves real activity by a State Institution, after a person died and left an estate within their competence area.

This might be a court or also a public notary.

Surprisingly enough Germany does not have such "probate procedure", at least not "ex officio", in other words: which starts automatically.

German law foresees that the probate court opens the last will, if there is any, and then informs the parties involved about their role - as potential heir. Then the parties have a deadline to accept or decline the inheritance.

Afterwards the court is only involved, if parties request their involvement, mostly to issue a certificate of inheritance.

Apart from that the probate courts have no real further role.

Of course, if there is controversy about who inherited what, who has to pay whom and so on, the courts are competent to solve these legal issues.

But those courts are the "ordinary" ones, competent to decide civil cases.

In practice, for example the enormously important question, what belongs to the estate (because heirs closer to it do not give other heirs - living abroad - information about the estate) has to be clarified by the initiative of the heirs in disadvantage.

The consequence of this is that heirs - particularly from abroad - need the help of competent and committed lawyers to get what is theirs.

11/01/2017

German inheritance law: What kinds of last will does German inheritance law know?

German law knows two kinds of last will or testamentary disposition.

The safest way to make a testamentary disposition for what should happen with the estate after the death of the testator is a public will, also called a "notarial will" ("notarielles Testament"). The public notary will know how to design and elaborate a valid "last will".

The other way is a handwritten testament. We will enlarge upon the formal requirements of a handwritten testament in a detailed way in articles you may find on this website. What can be remarked already here is that the testament you see on the picture above would be an invalid one. Be careful with that.

04/01/2017

German inheritance law: which institution is in charge of the probate procedure in Germany?

The authority in charge of cases of succession in Germany is the local court

The authority for successions lies with the local courts ("Amtsgericht") in the district where the testator had his residence or usual place to stay. Within the local court it is the probate court ("Nachlassgericht"), a special division of each local court.

This is independent of the value of the estate.

The estate court is the only competent institution that can issue a certificate of inheritance or succession.

It is also the probate court that will open the will after the death of the testator.

28/12/2016

German inheritance law: Do we need witnesses for a handwritten testament in German law of succession?

In contrast to other jurisdictions, German law of succession does not require any witnesses for the signature of the last will.

For the German law-maker it obviously suffices that the handwritten will has to be written by the testator´s hand from the beginning to the end to prove that the testator is really the author of the will. The authenticity of the will might then be proven with the help of a graphologist.

Witnesses are not required. On the contrary the presence of other people might give cause to the suspicion that the will was not written free of any form of undue influence or duress.

21/12/2016

German inheritance law: Does a handwritten will have to contain place and date in German law of succession?

A handwritten will should give mention to place and date of its signature.

But this is not mandatory. It is expedient though, because the testator might later revoke his earlier will - which he can anytime, provided he/she is the only author of the testament - and then after his/her death it might be difficult to tell which is the later and thus the valid one.

Since it is easy to save the trouble of proof to the heirs, it is therefore highly advisable to put date and place on the will, though the law does not make it a strict formal requirement.

14/12/2016

German inheritance law: What does the requirement handwritten will mean in German law of succession?

Handwritten will - a valid one - needs to be written by hand from the first letter up to the very last, including of course the signature.

Using a pre-printed form and only filling in some data etc. would not be a valid will and would be dealt with as a case of intestacy.

The testator should sign with his full name as it is officially used, for example in the passport or identity card

07/12/2016

German inheritance law: The capacity to testify

The capacity to testify is of course one of the fundamental requirements of a valid last will in German law of succession

Being a commonplace, in practice the question of full capacity to testify can often pose very delicate problems.

German jurisdiction is full of examples where parties argue over the question whether the testator was intellectually and mentally apt to understand what his/her disposition really meant.

Very often the issue is whether the otherwise mentally handicapped person - suffering for example from Parkinson, Alzheimer or also cancer - had a "lucid moment" when he/she testified.

Proof can be very difficult and often only be gained with the help of a medical expert, be it a psychiatrist or neurologist.

When such doubts might arise, it seems advisable that the testator consults a neurologist on the day, when he/she testifies. With such medical certificate accompanying the testament, it is practically not possible to deny the capacity in front of a court with any prospect of success.

30/11/2016

Adopted children

German Inheritance Law: The legal role of adopted children in German inheritance law

23/11/2016

Certificate of inheritance

German Inheritance Law: Certificate of Inheritance - what is it?

16/11/2016

Date on last will

German Inheritance Law: Does a German last will have to be dated?

09/11/2016

Extra-marital children

German Inheritance Law: the role of extra-marital children in German Inheritance Law.

02/11/2016

German Tax-Office

German Inheritance Law: Problems with the German Tax-Office.

26/10/2016

German Inheritance Law's cover photo

26/10/2016

Hand-written last will

German Inheritance Law: requirements for a German hand-written last will.

19/10/2016

place to put the last will

German Inheritance Law: Where to put the last will?

12/10/2016

Presents by testator

German Inheritance Law: present by testator to diminish the estate.

05/10/2016

Problems with other heirs

German Inheritance Law: problems with other heirs - lack of information

30/09/2016

Signature with full name

German Inheritance Law: is the signature with full name necessary on a German last will?

29/09/2016

Inheritance researcher

German Inheritance Law: What does an "inheritance researcher" do?

28/09/2016

Witnesses for last will

German Inheritance Law: Does German Inheritance Law require witness/es for the validity of a testament?

27/09/2016

The words "last will"

German Inheritance Law: Does German Inheritance Law require the words "last will" or "testament" in a testamentary disposition?

26/09/2016

Problems with banks

German Inheritance Law: Problems with banks in getting access to the money of the estate

25/09/2016

German last will, unreadable

German Inheritance Law: unreadable last will and the legal consequence.

24/09/2016

Where can we help?

German Inheritance Law: Where can we help you?

23/09/2016

German Inheritance Law:
How to deal with two or more contradicting testaments in German inheritance law?

The answer to the problem of contradicting testaments can be found in section 2258 of the German Civil Code:

„Revocation by a later will
(1)The making of a will revokes an earlier will to the extent that the later will is at variance with the former.
(2)If the later will is revoked, the earlier will is, in case of doubt, effective in the same way as if it had not been revoked.“
(Official translation of the German Civil Code by German Federal Ministry of Justice, to be found here).

The decisive question is therefore which testament was composed later of the two or more testaments. As far as there is a contradiction between the earlier and the more recent testament, the later will prevail. But it can also be that the „younger“ testament is only in part in contrast with the older one.

In such case only a thorough comparison and interpretation of the text of the last will can help.

This is a classical situation when you should definitely consult a native speaker who is specialized in German law of inheritance.
If you have any questions concerning German inheritance law, you may contact us through email: [email protected]

23/09/2016

German Inheritance Law:
Who is the debtor of the legal portion in German law of succession?

Legal portion or compulsory share is what close relatives or spouse get by law as share of the estate, in case they are a testamentary disposition appoints other heirs than them.

Those who are entitled to a legal portion are not heirs, they are not be named in a certificate of inheritance and do not get immediate access to the estate.

Their debtors are the heirs named in the last will be the testator.
The claims by the spouse or relatives who are entitled to get a compulsory share have to be made against the heirs. The heirs have to be sued, if they do not want to pay or do not want even to give information concerning the content and value of the estate.

If you have any further question concerning German law of succession, do not hesitate to contact us via email: [email protected]

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