German Wills: Does the Writing need to be in Capitals or can it be joined up?

Compared to English Wills a German style Will is shockingly short (see here) and it is either hand written by the testator him-/herself or recorded before a German notary (details see here). We are often asked whether the writing needs to be in capitals or whether it can be joined up.The answer is: The German will should be in the natural handwriting of the testator. The whole point of the holographic will is to prove that (in case anyone should challenge this) the will actually originates from the testator and has not been forged. German legal tradition does not like the idea of having witnesses because wills are considered to be private and confidential matter (“Privatsache”). Therefore, under German succession law, the personal handwriting of the testator (instead of witnesses) shall evidence that the will was really written by him/her. In short: Please do write as you would normally write, e.g. a love letter, a shopping list or a written exam.

For more information on German probate and inheritance law see these postings here.

The law firm Graf & Partners was established in 2003 and has many years of experience with British-German and US-German 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