Experts on U.S.-German Law & Anglo-German Law

CrossChannelLawyers.co.uk and its German language counterpart Cross-Channel-Lawyers.de are law blogs (blawgs) dealing with Anglo-German legal issues. A network of international lawyers who are experienced in cross border legal problems and who give practical and reliable advice. The law blogs are run by the lawyers of Graf & Partners, a firm of English solicitors and German Rechtsanwälte with many years of professional experience in cross border legal proceedings, who provide legal advice in a comprehensive, understandable and user-oriented manner. Our litigation department provides forensic services all across Germany and runs the expert law blog German Civil Procedure. Graf & Partners, with its international expertise, is well equipped to advise and represent clients from the USA, the United Kingdom and other English speaking countries.

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Business in GermanyCivil actionGerman Corporate LawGerman LawGoing to courtLitigation in GermanyStarting Business

Harsh “Unfair Competition” Rules in Germany

The German Habit of sending out Cease and Desist Letters to Competitors When you start trading in Germany you may be in for unpleasant surprises. The first letter your German subsidiary receives may likely be a formal cease and desist notice sent by your competitor's lawyers. Why? Because under German unfair competition laws, every business has the right to formally demand competitors to fully comply with any and all German laws. And there are many…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
January 25, 2018
Civil actionContract TemplatesDebt collectionGerman LawGoing to courtLitigation in Germany

Your German Debtor asks for Relief from Payment?

Then you should use this opportunity to obtain a so called "abstraktes Schuldanerkenntnis" (an autonomous acknowledgement of debt) from your German debtor. This is sometimes also called "selbstständiges Schuldanerkenntnis" or "Schuldversprechen". In other words: You agree to grant the debtor a moratorium (or a deferred payment) of a few weeks or months, but only under the condition that the debtor signs a Schuldanerkenntnis (a formal "I owe you"). Such a written debt acknowledgment according to…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
January 24, 2018
German LawGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawGerman Tax LawInternational ProbateWills and Succession Planning

This is what a German Gift Tax & Inheritance Tax Bill really looks like

Understanding a German Inheritance Tax Statement Inheritance tax in Germany is calculated very differently from the IHT in the United Kingdom. First of all, under German law, not the estate as such is being taxed but each individual beneficiary. Secondly, each beneficiary has an individual tax rate and an individual tax allowance, based on the amount received and the degree of kinship. And, last not least, German law applies the concept of gift tax which…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
January 18, 2018
Civil actionDebt collectionGerman LawGerman Tort LawGoing to courtLitigation in Germany

Litigation Costs in Germany: Basic Principles and an Online Cost Calculator

By German Litigation Expert Bernhard H. Schmeilzl, LL.M. (Leicester), admitted to the Munich Bar and qualified to represent clients in Courts of Law throughout Germany Court fees (Gerichtskosten) in Germany are based on the value of the claim (Streitwert or Gegenstandswert). The same is true for lawyers fees (Anwaltsgebühren) which are regulated by statutory law, the so called Rechtsanwaltsvergütungsgesetz (RVG). We explain the details of German civil litigation procedure including litigation costs in our expert…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
December 8, 2017
Family LawGoing to courtInternational Divorce Cases

Maria Demirci – Our Expert on German Family Law

British and American expats in Germany are somtimes faced with German family law issues. Either because they wish to get their personal and financial affairs in order by way of a pre-nuptial agreement which must "work" (i.e. be enforceable) in Germany as well as in the UK and the USA. Or because the marriage is in trouble and the foreign spouses wish to obtain legal advice on how to separate and divorce in Germany. German…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
December 5, 2017
Business in GermanyCivil actionCriminal LawGerman Corporate LawGerman Tax LawGerman Tort LawGoing to courtLitigation in GermanyM&A Germany

Forensic Accountant for Business Litigation in Germany

You need to understand German company accounts for a German lawsuit? In order to win a business or corporate law suit, understanding the numbers is often equally important as knowing the legal aspects of the case. The same is true if you plan to acquire a German business. Thus, the German-British litigation lawyers as well as the M&A experts at Graf & Partners (www.grafegal.com) regularly team up with German forensic accountant Hermann Werle. Hermann obtained…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
November 3, 2017
Austrian Inheritance LawAustrian ProbateGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance Law

“See the Big Picture”: The Preparation of International Wills

One-Day Workshop for English Wills & Probate Solicitors Clients these days often own foreign assets, have close relatives (i.e. future beneficiaries) who live abroad or even move to a non-UK country themselves. In all of these cases, a "standard" English last will and testament does not adequately cover all the client's needs. Foreign IHT consequences, for example, are often completely ignored. As is the fact that many European jurisdictions do not recognise an English trust…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
October 18, 2017
Austrian Inheritance LawAustrian ProbateGerman LawGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawGerman Tax LawInternational ProbateWills and Succession Planning

British Expats Beware of Foreign Succession Laws and Foreign Inheritance Tax

Children of British Expats in Europe often are entitled to the Estate without even knowing it. EU Succession Laws are full of surprises. British expats who are resident in Europe, let's say in Germany, Austria, France or Spain, rarely are aware that ever since the introduction of the EU Succession Regulation (August 2015), if they pass away while being resident in that country, the Inheritance and Succession Laws of that country of residence will most…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
October 11, 2017
German ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawGerman Tax Law

The Perils of the “Free of Tax” Clause in English Wills

What is meant well by the testator and their solicitor can create a tax monster English lawyers and tax consultants must beware of personal liability when designing Wills for families who either may own assets abroad or who wish to make gifts to beneficiaries living outside the UK. The harmless seeming "free of tax" wording as is commonly used by English solicitors when drafting wills for English clients can lead to unexpected quarrels between executors…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
October 2, 2017
Business in GermanyContract TemplatesConveyancing GermanyGerman Corporate LawGerman LawM&A GermanyProperty in GermanyStarting or Expanding Business

Careful with M&A Asset Deals in Germany

Pitfalls of German Contract Law (Part 3):  Many Asset Deal Purchase Agreements must be in Notarial Form to be Valid in Germany German Law requires certain transactions to be recorded before a Civil Law Notary in order for these agreements to be valid and enforceable. The list ranges from pre-nuptial and marriage agreements, to any real estate related transaction, to the formation of German companies and stock corporations. One aspect is, however, sometimes overlooked even…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
September 29, 2017
Austrian Inheritance LawGerman LawGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawWills and Succession Planning

If a British Testator relocates to Europe…

... the surviving spouse may be in for an unpleasant surprise Since 2015, according to the rules of the EU Succession Regulation, the criterion "last habitual residence" of the deceased determines which succession laws apply to the estate. If, for instance, a British national moves to Spain, Germany or France and later on dies there, then the respective national succession laws, i.e. Spanish, German or French succession laws, do apply (except with regard to UK…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
September 28, 2017
GeneralGerman Law

LGBT Friendly Law Firms in Germany, Austria and Britain

Although Germany and Britain are comparatively liberal and progressive societies, we are fully aware that the struggle against hate, discrimination and bigotry is far from over. Our firm of German and British lawyers supports openness, diversity and equal rights for all sexual orientations and gender identities. We welcome clients from the LGBT community both in Germany and the UK and we provide legal advice in all areas of law, from family law (e.g. same sex…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
September 28, 2017
German ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawInternational ProbateWills and Succession Planning

Living Wills and Advance Directives for Medical Decisions in Germany

Advance directives in Germany: How to plan for medical care in the event of loss of decision-making capacity Our law firm specialises in international wills and succession planning for German-British and German-American clients. In this context, our international clients often also ask us to assist with the related matters of creating a Living Will, a Healthcare Proxy, a Lasting Power of Attorney or Advance Directives for Care or End of Life Medical Treatment. All these…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
September 21, 2017
German LawGerman Succession & Inheritance LawInternational ProbateWills and Succession Planning

Preparing International Wills: A Checklist for Clients and their Lawyers

Complete Questionnaire for International Families and Expats who are resident or own Assets in Germany or Austria If you or your client owns assets in more than one country, or if a beneficiary is resident in another country than the testator, chances are that the executor and/or the beneficiary need to obtain probate in more than one country. Since the EU Succession Regulation neither applies to the United Kingdom nor to Ireland, the option to…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
September 14, 2017
Family LawInternational Divorce Cases

Questionnaires for German-British Divorce and Child Custody Matters

How to efficiently instruct a German Family Lawyer If a marriage goes sour and one spouse finally decides to ask a lawyer for advice, the client is usually rather emotional and nervous, especially when children are involved and the parents cannot agree amicably on where and with whom the children shall live for the time being. Thus, the client wants a reliable assessment of the legal situation. And he or she wants these answers fast.…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
August 4, 2017
Conveyancing GermanyGerman LawGerman Tax LawProperty in Germany

Is there German Capital Gains Tax when you sell a German Property?

Tax implications of selling property in Germany If you buy or inherit German property (whether it is a house, a flat or just a plot of land) and this property is then sold (by you or your heirs) before a period of ten full years has expired, the resulting profit (sale price minus purchase price minus certain related costs like notary fees) is subject to German tax, even if you are not a German tax…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
July 26, 2017
Austrian Inheritance LawAustrian ProbateGerman LawGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawGerman Tax LawInternational ProbateProperty in Germany

Workshop “Clients with Foreign Assets” for British Inheritance & Probate Lawyers

Testators with assets abroads Why would an English or Scottish solicitor even give a toss about German or Spanish inheritance tax laws or about French or Italian forced heirship rules? Well, for starters, in order to avoid the client's survivors yelling at him/her some years later because they ran into probate or/and foreign tax problems abroad. Or, and this is of course the far better reason, to really impress your client with advice on international…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
July 25, 2017
German ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawInternational ProbateProperty in Germany

International Wills: What your English Solicitor does not tell you (but should)

Drafting Wills for British or American Clients with Assets outside the UK / USA You are a British or American citizen but have assets abroad, let's say in Germany, Austria, France, Italy or Spain. Your English solicitor or your American lawyer suggests you make a Will which deals only with your national estate, i.e. the Will is restricted in such a way that it shall only apply to your assets located within the UK or…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
July 24, 2017
German Sports LawyersSports Law Experts Germany

The German Baseball Lawyer

On the lighter side: A personal message from Graf & Partner's managing partner Bernhard Schmeilzl. In my unpaid (how could that happen to me being a lawyer) moonlighting job as chairman of the board of the largest German baseball organisation, Regensburg Buchbinder Legionnaires, I was asked to give an interview for a short piece about the early years of the club which was aired last weekend on the 30th anniversary party. Together with my interview…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
July 14, 2017
German Law

Our Munich Office has relocated

Same part of town, but larger and more modern offices! Since 1st of June you can find our Munich lawyers in the modern and centrally located Agendis Business Center building on Radlkoferstr. 2. We are looking forward to meeting you in our new office! For those clients who specifically chose our firm because we were located right next to the Octoberfest area: Relax, the new office is only 500 meters south-west of the old one.…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
June 2, 2017