All Posts By

Bernhard Schmeilzl

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