All Posts By

Bernhard Schmeilzl

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