In Germany, it is rather common to set up a Power of Attorney (Vorsorgevollmacht) and/or a Living Will (Patientenverfügung). The formal requirements for both are quite simple. Whereas a Last Will (Testament) must either be written in the testators own hand or must be recorded in the presence of a German notary (details here), both an Enduring Power of Attorney as well as a Living Will must only be in writing. Thus, most Germans use standard templates which are readily available in book shops and on the internet. To avoid unpleasant surprises (the internet is full of badly drafted templates and brochures issued by religious sects), one should probably choose one of the established standard forms recommended by the federal or state governments in collaboration with various medical organisations.Two of the most popular publications containing legal and medical explanations as well as templates are:
- Vorsorge für Unfall, Krankheit und Alter (download as pdf here)
- Vorsorgevollmacht (download as pdf here)
The forms contained in these brochures have the advantage to be well known throughout Germany, so courts, hospitals, banks etc will usually accept them without much ado. However, if you prefer an individually drafted document or if you need legal advice or translations, we will be happy to provide this.
For 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 +49 941 785 30 53