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German probate lawyer

Conveyancing GermanyEuropean ProbateGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawInternational ProbateProperty in Germany

Can an inheritance in Germany become time-barred?

How long do I have to claim a German inheritance? In international succession and probate cases, it is not unusual that one or more beneficiaries cannot be found for quite some time, either because they have left Germany many years ago and have not stayed in touch with their family, so nobody knows where they now live. Or because the heirs (especially if intestacy rules apply) are very distant relatives, for example third degree cousins,…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
July 3, 2024
German ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawGerman Tax LawInternational ProbateWills and Succession Planning

Is there a Residential Nil Rate Band in Germany?

Yes, but only if the decedent was resident in Germany or a EU-member state Under German inheritance tax law (Erbschaftsteuer), the beneficiaries may claim an additional German tax relief for property of the deceased used as the family home (Familienheim), if the deceased gives said property to offspring (children or grandchildren), see section 13 para. 1 nr. 4 German Inheritance and Gift Tax Act (link). However, this additional German inheritance tax relief is only available,…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
December 4, 2023
Business in GermanyGerman LawGerman ProbateProfessional Regulations

Real German Lawyer or Fraudster?

Check the Official Lawyer Register of the German Bar Association Unfortunately, there are some criminals out there who pretend to be German lawyers. They come up with fake stories about an international inheritance or some other legal matter and try to trick their victims into paying (entirely bogus) court fees or taxes etc. There is, however, a simple way to protect yourself against such a fake lawyer. Whenever you are in doubt about the legitimacy…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
November 11, 2020
Civil actionGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance Law

Inheritance Disputes in Germany

Challenging a Will in Germany If you are involved in a German inheritance case and you have doubts whether a Will is valid, you can (and should) raise these issues with the German Probate Court (Nachlassgericht) as early as possible. You do not even have to initiate a form lawsuit in order to challenge the German will, because German Probate Courts are under the obligation to actively investigate the validity of the will. The court…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
September 24, 2020
German ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawInternational Probate

How to get out of a German Community of Heirs

What is a German Erbengemeinschaft (Community of Heirs)? Under German succession laws and probate rules, if there is more than one heir (Erbe), these co-heirs (Miterben) automatically form a so called Erbengemeinschaft (community of heirs), see section 2032 German Civil Code. We have explained the legal nature of the German Erbengemeinschaft in this post here. Such a community of heirs can be compared to a business partnership where assets (i.e. the estate of the deceased) are…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
February 8, 2019
Austrian ProbateEuropean ProbateGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawGerman Tax LawInheritance Law SwitzerlandSwiss Probate

International Probate USA and Europe

Is a USA Grant of Probate valid in Europe? No, it is not. If a US citizen who passed away has owned assets in Europe, then the US executor (or their US probate lawyer dealing with this international estate) will have to obtain separate grants of probate (or letters of administration) in each and every European country where the decedent held assets. A grant issued by a U.S. probate court is of no use in…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
January 28, 2019
German ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawGerman Tax Law

UK Citizens with Property in Germany: Do I need a separate Will?

The Basics of British-German Inheritance Cases When a British expat lives in Germany for some time, he or she will most probably have a German bank account and other German assets, maybe even have bought property over here. The majority of these British expats have never thought about the inheritance law implications of such foreign assets. They simply assume that UK law applies. This is, however, not always the case. Especially if German probate law…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
July 1, 2013
German ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance LawGerman Tax Law

German Inheritance Tax Rates and Personal Tax Exempt Amounts

What is the German IHT Nil-Rate Band? German inheritance law, including inheritance tax law, works very differently from the UK system (for German probate see here and here). While in the UK the estate as such is taxed (with one single nil-rate band of currently 325k GBP being available as tax relief) you find a completely different inheritance tax concept in Germany: German tax authorities do not look at the estate but at the individual…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
July 1, 2013
German ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance Law

Executors and Trustees in German Inheritance Law

How estates are administered in Germany There exist, as we have explained here, fundamental differences between the inheritance law concepts of the UK and Germany. Since UK probate law requires a personal representative, many testators in the UK appoint an executor in their will. In Germany, however, where a "personal representative" is unknown due to the principle of universal succession, the inheritors come into ownership as well as into possession of the estate automatically and…