All Posts By

Bernhard Schmeilzl

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