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German Succession & Inheritance Law

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
German LawGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawInternational Probate

TYPICAL GERMAN WILL FOR SPOUSES – THE SO CALLED EHEGATTENTESTAMENT

German Spouses usually set up a Joint Will called Berliner Testament Under German succession laws, a will must either be officially recorded by a German notary public or the entire will must be written in the testator's own hand, so called eigenhändiges Testament (holographic will). More on the formal requirements to create a valid will is explained here. Married couples in Germany usually opt for the so called "Berliner Testament" or "Ehegattentestament", i.e. a joint…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
March 3, 2020
European ProbateGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawInternational Probate

German Elder Law Experts – Since 2003

GrafLegal focuses on International Probate, Estate Planning and Elder Law Overseas probate law expert Bernhard Schmeilzl, Esq. has 20 years of experience dealing with international estate matters between the USA and Europe. He runs the leading blogs www.internationalprobatelaw.com for American families with assets in Europe and www.GermanCivilProcedure.com which both provide practical information on estate planning, on how to obtain foreign probate, on how to draft wills which are valid in multiple jurisdictions and -- if it comes…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
August 28, 2019
Austrian Inheritance LawAustrian ProbateGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawWills and Succession Planning

Overseas Inheritance? See My Answers to FAQs on Probate in Germany and England

Watch this Video by Cross Border Probate Expert Bernhard Schmeilzl, Esq. Overseas probate law expert Bernhard Schmeilzl has 20 years of experience dealing with international estate matters between the USA and Europe. He runs the leading blogs www.internationalprobatelaw.com and www.crosschannellawyers.com which provide practical information on how to obtain foreign probate and how to win contentious probate litigation in Europe. In this video, Bernhard answers the 24 questions on German and British probate that are most…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
August 27, 2019
Austrian Inheritance LawAustrian ProbateGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawInternational Probate

International Probate Law – German Lawyers for Americans with Assets in Europe

Specialist Lawyers for the Administrations of Estates in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and England American families with assets in central European countries will find all they need to know about estate planning, creating living wills in Europe, probate proceedings and inheritance tax (also called estate tax or death tax) on the website InternationalProbateLaw.com, provided by the international probate law experts of Graf Legal LLP, a firm that specialises in German-American law since 2003. Many U.S. families…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
July 30, 2019
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