Experts on U.S.-German Law & Anglo-German Law

CrossChannelLawyers.co.uk, its German language counterpart Cross-Channel-Lawyers.de, and InternationalProbateLaw.com are law blogs (blawgs) dealing with Anglo-German legal issues. A network of international lawyers who are experienced in cross border legal problems and who give practical and reliable advice. The law blogs are run by the lawyers of Graf & Partners, a firm of English solicitors and German Rechtsanwälte with many years of professional experience in cross border legal proceedings, who provide legal advice in a comprehensive, understandable and user-oriented manner. Our litigation department provides forensic services all across Germany and runs the expert law blog German Civil Procedure. Graf & Partners, with its international expertise, is well equipped to advise and represent clients from the USA, the United Kingdom and other English speaking countries. Visit us also on YouTube.

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German ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawInternational ProbateWills and Succession Planning

Sell Your Share in a German Estate — Even Before Probate

Renouncing the Inheritance Against Fair Financial Compensation If you have inherited in Germany but are not the only beneficiary, you may get tied up in the administration of such a German estate for years, because under German succession law, there is no personal representative (i.e. executor or administrator). Instead, the co-heirs (Miterben) deal with the estate themselves. Such a community of beneficiaries is called "Erbengemeinschaft". The practical problem: They have to work together and most…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
October 28, 2020
German ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawInternational Probate

International Inheritance — Is Cherry Picking Permitted?

Can you accept an inheritance in one country and renounce the inheritance in another? To a continental European Estate lawyer, the above question sounds absurd, because the traditional approach of German and French succession law has always been that a deceased person (decedent) leaves behind one single global estate (holistic approach, in German referred to as "Prinzip der Nachlasseinheit"). Therefore, even if the decedent has owned property in various countries around the globe, a German…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
October 14, 2020
Business in GermanyGerman Corporate LawGerman Law

How to Dissolve a German Company

What are the necessary steps to wind down a German company? If the shareholders (Gesellschafter) of a German limited liability company (Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung, in short: GmbH) decide that they no longer have any use for this company, the German GmbH cannot simply be struck from the company register (Handelsregister) right there and then. Instead, in order to protect the creditors, suppliers and employees of said German limited liability company, German company law (Gesellschaftsrecht)…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
September 28, 2020
Civil actionGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance Law

Inheritance Disputes in Germany

Challenging a Will in Germany If you are involved in a German inheritance case and you have doubts whether a Will is valid, you can (and should) raise these issues with the German Probate Court (Nachlassgericht) as early as possible. You do not even have to initiate a form lawsuit in order to challenge the German will, because German Probate Courts are under the obligation to actively investigate the validity of the will. The court…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
September 24, 2020
Civil actionLitigation in Germany

German Civil Litigation Experts — Graflegal.com

How to Win a Civil Lawsuit in Germany! Going to court in Germany is entirely different from what a US or UK lawyer is used to. In a nutshell: It's all about the writs. The oral arguments are - in most cases - entirely unimportant. Since there is no jury in Germany, there is no need for flamboyant speeches by German trial lawyers. In other words: The judge is the only person you need to…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
August 10, 2020
Conveyancing GermanyGerman Real Estate LawProperty in Germany

Can I Buy or Sell Property in Germany Without Actually Being There?

Does "Remote Conveyancing" work in Germany? Is there a way to buy or sell German real estate from abroad, i.e. without physically being in Germany myself? Under German law, any property (real estate) transaction must go through a German civil law notary, who does not merely certify documents and verify signatures, but who is a state appointed judge like lawyer (more here). Only the best law school graduates have the chance to become public notaries.…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
July 23, 2020
Family LawGerman Law

German Pre-Nuptials are fully binding Contracts

German Family Law permits Spouses to enter into a Marriage Contract (Ehevertrag) London is referred to as the divorce capital of the world because English law and English family courts are famous for awarding large amounts to the "poorer" spouse. The legal principles "equal split" and "clean break" have brought many celebrities and other wealthy individuals to tears when the marriage went sour and the not so famous and not so rich spouse filed for…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
June 30, 2020
German ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance Law

How do you avoid to inherit debts in Germany?

Renounce the inheritance or apply for estate curatorship German succession laws contain a dangerous pitfall, the principle of universal and direct succession (the German legal buzzwords being: Universalsukzession and Direkterwerb). In contrast to the succession laws in Common Law jurisdiction, where the liability is automatically limited to the estate of the decedent, the default rule under German civil law is that heirs also inherit debts of the deceased - automatically! Direct and automatic succession means…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
April 24, 2020
German ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawInternational ProbateLitigation in Germany

GERMAN WILLS ARE OFTEN VOIDABLE

A child or surviving spouse can challenge a German Will made "too early" German laws of succession are full of surprises, even for German lawyers who do not specialise in estate and probate law. One of those German succession law statutes which create shock among the testamentary heirs and beneficiaries is sections 2079 German Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch).  The language of the statute is somewhat cryptic: A will is voidable if the testator has omitted a…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
April 9, 2020
Conveyancing GermanyGerman LawGerman Succession & Inheritance Law

Selling Property in Germany? Better hurry!

Corona Crisis will cause German Real Estate Prices to drop For two decades, the only way was up when it came to market value (Verkehrswert) of German houses, flats and apartments, especially in large German cities like Munich, Frankfurt or Berlin. In 2020, this will all change! Even before the Corona outbreak in Europe, the rise in German property prices was no longer as steep as in previous years, due to a combination of extensive…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
March 18, 2020
German LawGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawInternational Probate

TYPICAL GERMAN WILL FOR SPOUSES – THE SO CALLED EHEGATTENTESTAMENT

German Spouses usually set up a Joint Will called Berliner Testament Under German succession laws, a will must either be officially recorded by a German notary public or the entire will must be written in the testator's own hand, so called eigenhändiges Testament (holographic will). More on the formal requirements to create a valid will is explained here. Married couples in Germany usually opt for the so called "Berliner Testament" or "Ehegattentestament", i.e. a joint…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
March 3, 2020
Civil actionGoing to courtLitigation in Germany

Are TV-Cameras allowed in German Courtrooms?

Videotaping and broadcasting is prohibited in Germany - with only very limited exceptions You will not see any video footage of a German court case, neither from a civil nor from a criminal trial. German law is very conservative and restrictive when it comes to photography and videotaping in a German court of law, let alone broadcasting the actual court hearing. The only exception to this rule applies to the highest Federal Courts of Germany…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
February 24, 2020
Family Law

Experts on German Family Law

German Pre-Nuptials, Post-Nuptials, Divorce Proceedings, Separation Agreements and Divorce Mediation International families as well as British and American expats in Germany are somtimes faced with German family law issues. Either because they wish to get their personal and financial affairs in order and ringfence their property by way of a pre-nuptial agreement which must "work" (i.e. be enforceable) in Germany as well as in the UK and the USA. Or because the marriage is in…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
February 5, 2020
Civil actionGerman LawGerman Tort LawGoing to courtLitigation in Germany

WHY ARE GERMAN TRIAL LAWYERS SO LAME?

Or are they, really? That's a question I often get asked by U.S. clients who need to sue (or have been sued) in Germany. These American clients have certain expectations with regard to what a good and hard nosed litigation lawyer does. Harvey Specter style shock and awe tactics. The German civil litigation counsel, in their view, does not live up to these Hollywood or Netflix expectations. Well, what creates the impression of a German…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
December 4, 2019
Property in Germany

When Buying Property in Germany – Do Not Make Any Upfront Payments

Don't Get Ripped Off by "German Real Property Online Auctions" The conveyancing process in Germany is very different from buying property in the United Kingdom or the USA. In Germany, as in France and other civil law jurisdictions, every property transaction must go through a civil law notary, who is a quasi court official and who must ensure that the rights and interests of both parties to the transaction are being protected. In other words:…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
October 14, 2019
European ProbateGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawInternational Probate

German Elder Law Experts – Since 2003

GrafLegal focuses on International Probate, Estate Planning and Elder Law Overseas probate law expert Bernhard Schmeilzl, Esq. has 20 years of experience dealing with international estate matters between the USA and Europe. He runs the leading blogs www.internationalprobatelaw.com for American families with assets in Europe and www.GermanCivilProcedure.com which both provide practical information on estate planning, on how to obtain foreign probate, on how to draft wills which are valid in multiple jurisdictions and -- if it comes…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
August 28, 2019
Austrian Inheritance LawAustrian ProbateGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawWills and Succession Planning

Overseas Inheritance? See My Answers to FAQs on Probate in Germany and England

Watch this Video by Cross Border Probate Expert Bernhard Schmeilzl, Esq. Overseas probate law expert Bernhard Schmeilzl has 20 years of experience dealing with international estate matters between the USA and Europe. He runs the leading blogs www.internationalprobatelaw.com and www.crosschannellawyers.com which provide practical information on how to obtain foreign probate and how to win contentious probate litigation in Europe. In this video, Bernhard answers the 24 questions on German and British probate that are most…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
August 27, 2019
Austrian Inheritance LawAustrian ProbateGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawInternational Probate

International Probate Law – German Lawyers for Americans with Assets in Europe

Specialist Lawyers for the Administrations of Estates in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and England American families with assets in central European countries will find all they need to know about estate planning, creating living wills in Europe, probate proceedings and inheritance tax (also called estate tax or death tax) on the website InternationalProbateLaw.com, provided by the international probate law experts of Graf Legal LLP, a firm that specialises in German-American law since 2003. Many U.S. families…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
July 30, 2019
German LawLitigation in Germany

So much for Legal Tech in Germany

German Supreme Court rules that German lawyers must keep a docketing system (deadline planner) in paper form at all times A central professional task and duty of any lawyer is to diligently calculate, monitor and adhere to all relevant deadlines (which in German are called "Fristen"), be it court dates to submit briefs, limitation periods or other deadlines. In order to prove that a document has been sent out in time, paralegals in German law…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
June 4, 2019