All Posts By

Bernhard Schmeilzl

European ProbateGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawInternational ProbateLitigation in GermanyWills and Succession Planning

How to speed up German Probate Applications

Avoid common mistakes in your application for a German grant of probate (Erbschein) The basics of the German non-contentious probate procedure are explained in the post How to apply for German Probate. There you can also find an example of what a genuine German grant, i.e. the “Erbschein” (certificate of inheritance) looks like. For those who want to dig deeper and get really technical about German probate, we now examine the central statutes of German…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
October 26, 2018
Civil action

Where to File a Lawsuit in Germany

This Chart explains Jurisdiction and Venue in German Civil and Commercial Court Cases. More information on litigation and legal fees in Germany is available on our expert law blog www.GERMANCIVILPROCEDURE.com The law firm Graf & Partners was established in 2003 and has many years of experience with British-German and US-German legal matters.The Anglo-German litigation lawyer team of GP Chambers is well equipped to advise and represent clients from the UK and other English speaking countries.…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
October 12, 2018
Family LawGerman Labor LawGerman LawStarting Business

What is a “polizeiliches Führungszeugnis”?

And when do you need it? The German “polizeiliches Führungszeugnis” is the equivalent of the British “enhanced criminal record certificate” as defined in sec. 115 Police Act 1997, sometimes also referred to as “certificate of conduct”, “good-conduct certificate” or “police clearance certificate”. The Führungszeugnis is an official document issued on special green paper by the German Bundesamt für Justiz (Federal Office of Justice) in Bonn. It lists criminal offences above a certain threshold, usually if someone…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
September 25, 2018
Business in GermanyCyberlawGerman Law

Abuse of your Web Shop?

What to do if your online shop is attacked by criminals: an IT lawyer’s view. In times of digitalization it is extremely attractive to offer your products online – this has several advantages. No sales room is needed, the offers are available around the clock and there are no annoying sales talks. Sounds good at first? Of course, it is! As long as there are no problems with the web shop… A real life example…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
August 31, 2018
Business in GermanyGerman LawLitigation in Germany

British Solicitors: better brace for a cliff-edge Brexit

“Brexit not the end of the world” Theresa May recently statedthat a no-deal Brexit ‘wouldn’t be the end of the world’. How reassuring! If you are an English or Scottish solicitor who specialises in international law, such a rock hard Brexit may, however, well be the end of your career as an internation lawyer. Because in case of an ever more likely no-deal scenario, English solicitors will no longer be able to provide legal services…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
August 30, 2018
German ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawInternational Probate

How to Limit the Personal Liability of Executors and Beneficiaries in German Probate Cases

Using "Public Creditor Notification" (Aufgebotsverfahren) to restrict liability to the funds available in the German estate Under German succession laws, a beneficiary (Erbe) is personally liable for the debts of the decedent, i.e. if the debts of the deceased exceed the value of the estate then the beneficiaries must pay the remaining debts out of their own pockets. More here.   Obviously, no beneficiary in his or her right mind wants that result (except for…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
August 9, 2018
Austrian ProbateGerman LawGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawInternational ProbateWills and Succession Planning

German Probate: What to do if a beneficiary (co-heir) cannot be found?

Does anyone know where Great-Granduncle Fritz lives? In some probate cases (Nachlassverfahren), especially if a decedent had no children, no surviving spouse and no surviving siblings, the next of kin cannot be located, either because the relevant persons have died so long ago that the closest living relatives of the testator can’t be identified (e.g. died in the war) or because they have moved to another country and nobody knows their whereabouts. Even if only…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
August 7, 2018
German LawGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawInternational Probate

Entangled in German Probate Proceedings?

Renounce Inheritance against Compensation Payment In this post, we reveal a simple trick how to be released from the duties and obligations of being a German co-heir while still obtaining a portion of the German estate. The buzzwords are "Verpflichtung zur Ausschlagung gegen Abfindung", i.e. contract to renounce a German inheritance against compensatory payment (make-up pay). Background: The Basics of German Probate and Estate Administration In previous posts, we have explained German succession rules, the…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
August 7, 2018
German LawGerman ProbateInternational ProbateWills and Succession Planning

Does anyone know about Great-Granduncle Fritz?

What to do in Germany when an Heir (Beneficiary) cannot be found In Germany, due to the principle of universal succession (which is governed by  §§ 1922, 1937 BGB of the German Civil Code), it is the heir´s duty to look after the estate. Under German inheritance law, there is no personal representative to take possession of the estate. The German Probate Court (“Nachlassgericht”) will also not interfere with the administration of the estate. The…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
July 23, 2018
German ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawInternational Probate

Indebted Estate: How to avoid inheriting your German Relatives’ Debts

Make sure to renounce (disclaim) an Inheritance from Germany if you fear that the Decedent had severe Debts For English lawyers it is a rather shocking concept: The relatives of a deceased person or the beneficiaries mentioned in a Will can be fully personally liable for the debts of the deceased. Without any limitation.For details see here. Hard to understand from the perspective of Common Law jurisdictions, but this is exactly what the German legal…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
July 3, 2018