Why do some German Grants take 4-8 weeks to be issued, others twice as long?
If a German testator has made a holographic will which disinherits those persons who would have been the heirs under German intestacy rules (more here), then the period the testamentary heirs must be patient is usually at least one or months longer than in other cases. This is due to the fact that German probate procedure rules in section 345 FamFG require the German probate registry to formally notify the persons who would have inherited under intestacy rules and inform the about the application. The reason behind this rule is to give these persons the opportunity to raise objections against the validity of the holographic Will. If they do, the Grant is not issued and it becomes a contentious probate proceeding (streitiges Erbscheinsverfahren). If they do not object or if they simply remain silent, then the court will issue the grant. However, if the person who must be notified lives outside of Germany, it can get difficult, weary and tiresome, especially if that person wants to make the testamentary’s life difficult by sabotaging service of the notification document.
For more information on German-British probate matters and international will preparation see the below posts by the international succession law experts of Graf & Partners LLP:
- Most Germans die without a Will (German Intestacy Rules)
- Formal Requirements to set up a valid Will in England, Scotland and Germany: What are the Differences?
- The Perils of German IHT and Gift Tax
- Basics of German Inheritance and Succession Law
- Executors and Trustees in German Inheritance Law
- How to apply for a German Grant of Probate
- The Infamous German Community of Heirs – And how to avoid it
- Germans Heirs are Personally Liable for Debts of the Deceased
- International Wills and Estate Planning for British-German Families
- Prove German Wills for English Probate
- Disputed Wills and Contentious Probate in Germany
- Disinherit your no-good children? Not so easy in Germany
- Don’t be afraid of Clients with Foreign Assets!
- Can foreign Taxes be set off against UK Inheritance Tax?
Or simply click on the “German Probate” section in the right column of this blog.
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The law firm Graf & Partners and its German-English litigation department GP Chambers was established in 2003 and has many years of experience with British-German and US-German probate matters, including the representation of clients in contentious probate matters. If you wish us to advise or represent you in a German or cross border inheritance case please contact German solicitor Bernhard Schmeilzl, LL.M. (Leicester) at +49 941 463 7070.