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

CrossChannelLawyers.co.uk, its German language counterpart Cross-Channel-Lawyers.de, and InternationalProbateLaw.com 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. Visit us also on YouTube.

+49 (0) 941 – 463 70 70
Criminal LawGeneral

We have no “Mike Wright” – Fraudsters use our firm’s name

Sooner or later, every international law firm faces the problem of their name being used for spam mails or fraud attempts. Currently, i.e. April 2018, it seems to be our turn. Some idiots have sent out thousands of emails claiming to be "Grafpartners-Solicitors". These spam emails look like this and come with an attachment: Please do not open the attachment and also do not respond to them, since we have nothing to do with this.…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
April 23, 2018
German Labor LawGerman Law

Post-Contractual Non-Compete Clauses in German Employment Agreements

... and how to get rid of them Many employers want to prevent their employees to work for competitors when the employment ends. Under German labor law, this can be achieved by putting a post-contractual non-compete clause (nachvertragliches Wettbewerbsverbot) in the employment contract. The typical standard wording for such a non compete clause would be this: The Employee shall not, for a period of 24 months following the end of the employment and within the…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
March 21, 2018
German LawGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawGerman Tax LawWills and Succession Planning

If your Parent or Child passes away while having been resident in Germany…

... then German Succession Rules do apply to the Estate! Since August 2015, all EU members (except for UK, Ireland and Denmark) apply the same basic rule: The national succession laws of that country shall apply in which the decedent had his or her last habitual residence (EU Succession Regulation, EU 650/2012). Thus, if your parent or your child has been permanently living in - for instance - Germany, France or Spain and sadly dies…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
March 6, 2018
Austrian ProbateGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawInheritance Law SwitzerlandSwiss Probate

This is what a Swiss Grant of Probate really looks like

Sample Certificate of Inheritance issued by Switzerland Probate Court (Zurich) We, the German-British law firm Graf & Partners, specialise in international probate matters as well as estate planning in all German speaking countries, i.e. Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Thus, we are often approached by clients who need to apply for a grant of probate in these countries. Also, we are sometimes approached by clients who fell for an online inheritance scam. In order to…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
February 26, 2018
German LawGerman Succession & Inheritance LawGerman Tax LawWills and Succession Planning

“I want to make a Gift to my Child in Germany…”

... but my son-in-law / daughter-in-law shall not benefit from such a gift or inheritance! Is that possible under German law? Yes, it certainly is possible. Spouses are sometimes under the impression that they have an automatic entitlement to any gift the other spouse receives, whether as a lifetime gift or as an inheritance. Simply by virtue of the fact they are married. Under German law, this is certainly not the case. Unless the spouses…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
February 8, 2018
German ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawInternational ProbateWills and Succession Planning

How to deposit a Will in Germany

Keep your German will at home or have it registered with German probate court? If you live in Germany or have significant assets there you should consider making a separate last will with regard to those German assets. If you do so, the question arises where to store the will. In case you opted for a so called public will (i.e. a will recorded before a German notary), an official copy of your German will…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
January 26, 2018
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