Category

German Succession & Inheritance Law

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
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 tend to overlook when preparing Wills for overseas Clients We see cases like this all the time: A British expat lives in Germany for a few years and unexpectedly passes away while having his or her permanent residence in Germany. A British family moves to Germany permanently but keeps their English wills in place. Or they ask their English solicitor to prepare a new will for them although they now live in…
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
German LawGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawGoing to courtInternational Probate

German Grant of Probate not always necessary

Since the 2016 landmark ruling by the German Federal Court of Justice, beneficiaries (heirs) to a German estate may be able to entirely avoid German probate proceedings. Even if there is just a handwritten will. If a decedent who owned assets in Germany died intestate, a German grant (ERbschein) is unavoidable. But if he or she has made any kind of German will, chances are that formal probate proceedings may not even be necessary to…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
December 17, 2018
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
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