Category

German Succession & Inheritance Law

German 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
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 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
German LawGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawGerman Tax LawWills and Succession Planning

If your Parent or Child passes away while having been resident in Germany…

... then German Succession Rules do apply to the Estate! Since August 2015, all EU members (except for UK, Ireland and Denmark) apply the same basic rule: The national succession laws of that country shall apply in which the decedent had his or her last habitual residence (EU Succession Regulation, EU 650/2012). Thus, if your parent or your child has been permanently living in - for instance - Germany, France or Spain and sadly dies…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
March 6, 2018
Austrian ProbateGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawInheritance Law SwitzerlandSwiss Probate

This is what a Swiss Grant of Probate really looks like

Sample Certificate of Inheritance issued by Switzerland Probate Court (Zurich) We, the German-British law firm Graf & Partners, specialise in international probate matters as well as estate planning in all German speaking countries, i.e. Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Thus, we are often approached by clients who need to apply for a grant of probate in these countries. Also, we are sometimes approached by clients who fell for an online inheritance scam. In order to…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
February 26, 2018
German LawGerman Succession & Inheritance LawGerman Tax LawWills and Succession Planning

“I want to make a Gift to my Child in Germany…”

... but my son-in-law / daughter-in-law shall not benefit from such a gift or inheritance! Is that possible under German law? Yes, it certainly is possible. Spouses are sometimes under the impression that they have an automatic entitlement to any gift the other spouse receives, whether as a lifetime gift or as an inheritance. Simply by virtue of the fact they are married. Under German law, this is certainly not the case. Unless the spouses…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
February 8, 2018
German ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawInternational ProbateWills and Succession Planning

How to deposit a Will in Germany

Keep your German will at home or have it registered with German probate court? If you live in Germany or have significant assets there you should consider making a separate last will with regard to those German assets. If you do so, the question arises where to store the will. In case you opted for a so called public will (i.e. a will recorded before a German notary), an official copy of your German will…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
January 26, 2018
German LawGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawGerman Tax LawInternational ProbateWills and Succession Planning

This is what a German Gift Tax & Inheritance Tax Bill really looks like

Understanding a German Inheritance Tax Statement Inheritance tax in Germany is calculated very differently from the IHT in the United Kingdom. First of all, under German law, not the estate as such is being taxed but each individual beneficiary. Secondly, each beneficiary has an individual tax rate and an individual tax allowance, based on the amount received and the degree of kinship. And, last not least, German law applies the concept of gift tax which…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
January 18, 2018