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.

+49 (0) 941 – 463 70 70
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
German Corporate LawGerman Law

German Antitrust Law and Merger Control Rules

Basic Rules of German Antitrust and Merger Control by the German Federal Antitrust Division (Bundeskartellamt) In Germany, the Bundeskartellamt (Federal Antitrust Division) is responsible for supervising and enforcing German competition laws and regulations. Among other tasks, the main responsibilities are merger control within Germany, prevention of illegal German cartels and collusion between major economic players, as well as consumer protection in Germany. Merger Control in Germany The German Antitrust Division (Bundeskartellamt) assesses the effects a potential…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
May 27, 2019
German Corporate LawGerman Law

Individual Custom Software and German Law

How not to become really unhappy with your custom software "Made in Germany" Checklist of Legal Issues around creating Custom Software in Germany If you are planning to have custom software created for your company in Germany, you should first consider a few important things. Here's a checklist from the perspective of German IT law expert Stephan Hendel: What is individual or custom software? Individual or custom software is software that has been created for…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
May 24, 2019
Austrian Inheritance LawAustrian Probate

Fast Track Probate in Austria: Delivery Procedure

How to access Austrian assets if the deceased was domiciled outside Austria? Austrian law offers two very different probate procedures, the comprehensive Verlassenschaftsverfahren (full Austrian probate) and the much simpler Ausfolgungsverfahren. Which of the two routes must be taken depends on the circumstances of the case. The requirements for the Ausfolgungsverfahren, i.e. the Austrian fast track probate process are explained in the post How to Access Assets in Austria. Now, please do not take "fast…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
May 16, 2019
Civil actionGoing to courtLitigation in Germany

German Litigation Consultants and Forensic Experts

Do German Civil Procedure Rules Permit Witness Preparation? The first thing every US litigator must understand when it comes to German civil and criminal cases is that in a German courtroom there is no jury. At all! This fact alone eliminates much of the courtroom drama, acting and psychological witness examination techniques which are commonly used under United States procedure rules. In the absence of a jury, there is no need for psychological litigation consultants…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
March 1, 2019
Austrian ProbateEuropean ProbateGerman Probate

One Single Grant of Probate for all of Europe. Really?

What is a "European Certificate of Succession"? If someone dies who owned assets in more than one European country, a central question is whether the executor(s) or the inheritor(s) must take out separate grants of probate (letters of administration) in each European country where the deceased has held assets. Or whether there is the option of applying for one single Grant which could then be used to administer the respective estates in all European countries? Where…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
February 28, 2019
German ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawGerman Tax LawInternational Probate

German Inheritance Tax Forms

Where to download the official German Estate and Gift Tax Forms If an estate comprises German assets or if a beneficiary to an estate is resident in Germany, then German inheritance tax ("Erbschaftsteuer") must be paid. Depending on the circumstances of the case, this German estate tax is levied either on the entire global estate of the deceased or at least on the portion of the estate which was gifted to the beneficiary who is…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
February 25, 2019
Civil actionCriminal LawGerman Tort LawGoing to courtLitigation in Germany

Medical Malpractice Lawsuits in Germany

How to sue a German Hospital or Physician for Medical Malpractice If you believe that you or a loved one suffered an injury caused by medical negligence (medical mistakes) in Germany, the first step is to stay calm -- as difficult as that may be -- and to try and collect as much factual information as possible without immediately declaring all out war on the medical staff or the hospital. Why? Because once you openly…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
February 20, 2019
Conveyancing GermanyGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawProperty in Germany

German Land Registry and the “Grundschuld”

Why Germans often leave a Mortgage (Grundschuld) entered in the Land Registry Records even if the underlying bank loan has been fully repaid? The German word for mortgage is "Grundschuld", which is the most commonly used form of a German security interest in land, i.e. real property lien (Grundpfandrecht). The relevant German statutes are s. 1113 et seqq. German Civil Code. Such a Grundschuld is created by notary deed whenever the German property owner wishes…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
February 20, 2019
German ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawInternational Probate

How to get out of a German Community of Heirs

What is a German Erbengemeinschaft (Community of Heirs)? Under German succession laws and probate rules, if there is more than one heir (Erbe), these co-heirs (Miterben) automatically form a so called Erbengemeinschaft (community of heirs), see section 2032 German Civil Code. We have explained the legal nature of the German Erbengemeinschaft in this post here. Such a community of heirs can be compared to a business partnership where assets (i.e. the estate of the deceased) are…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
February 8, 2019
Family LawGerman LawGerman Succession & Inheritance LawGerman Tax Law

Adoption of an Adult in Germany

How to adopt an adult under German law. And why people do it. Adopting an adult person (Erwachsenenadoption) is increasingly popular in Germany, especially in wealthy cities like Munich, Frankfurt or Berlin. Why so? Because a child -- including an adopted adult -- is entitled to claim the maximum German personal gift & inheritance tax allowance of EUR 400,000. More distant relatives, for instance nieces and nephews, only have a meager EUR 20,000 tax allowance…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
February 7, 2019
Austrian ProbateEuropean ProbateGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawGerman Tax LawInheritance Law SwitzerlandSwiss Probate

International Probate USA and Europe

Is a USA Grant of Probate valid in Europe? No, it is not. If a US citizen who passed away has owned assets in Europe, then the US executor (or their US probate lawyer dealing with this international estate) will have to obtain separate grants of probate (or letters of administration) in each and every European country where the decedent held assets. A grant issued by a U.S. probate court is of no use in…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
January 28, 2019
German Succession & Inheritance LawWills and Succession Planning

The Number One Blunder made by English Wills & Probate Solicitors

What English Solicitors (and U.S. lawyers) tend to overlook when preparing Wills for overseas Clients We see cases like this all the time: A British (or American) expat lives in Germany for a few years and unexpectedly passes away while having his or her permanent residence in Germany. A British (or American) family moves to Germany permanently but keeps their English wills in place. Or they ask their English solicitor to prepare a new will…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
January 23, 2019
European ProbateGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawInternational Probate

Which German Court has jurisdiction for a Probate Application?

Submitting the German Probate Application to the wrong court will cause months of delay If the deceased had owned assets in Germany, you will need to apply for a separate German grant. Grants issued by a British probate registry or a United States probate court are useless in Germany. As we have explained in our post “How to apply for a German Grant of Probate”, German institutions (land registry, banks, insurance companies etc) as well…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
January 22, 2019
Criminal LawGerman Tort LawLitigation in Germany

Witness to a Crime in Germany?

Your Rights and Duties as a Witness to a Crime in Germany In case you have observed a criminal offence in Germany or if -- for whatever reason -- you have knowledge about factual circumstances relevant in connection with a German criminal investigation, you may be approached by the German police or the German public prosecutor (Staatsanwalt) and asked to give a witness statement. Here's what you should know as a (potential) witness in a German…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
January 22, 2019
Criminal LawDebt collectionGerman Tort Law

How to press criminal Charges in Germany

Victim of a Crime in Germany? These are your options: In case you have been hurt in an accident in Germany which was caused by someone else  or if you have been outright assaulted and injured while in Germany, you should immediately think about how to best collect the necessary evidence for a potential legal case later on. In other words: document all the relevant facts, for example by getting the names, addresses and phone…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
January 21, 2019
German LawGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawGoing to courtInternational Probate

German Grant of Probate not always necessary

Since the 2016 landmark ruling by the German Federal Court of Justice, beneficiaries (heirs) to a German estate may be able to entirely avoid German probate proceedings. Even if there is just a handwritten will. If a decedent who owned assets in Germany died intestate, a German grant (ERbschein) is unavoidable. But if he or she has made any kind of German will, chances are that formal probate proceedings may not even be necessary to…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
December 17, 2018