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inherit debts Germany

German ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance Law

How do you avoid to inherit debts in Germany?

Renounce the inheritance or apply for estate curatorship German succession laws contain a dangerous pitfall, the principle of universal and direct succession (the German legal buzzwords being: Universalsukzession and Direkterwerb). In contrast to the succession laws in Common Law jurisdiction, where the liability is automatically limited to the estate of the decedent, the default rule under German civil law is that heirs also inherit debts of the deceased - automatically! Direct and automatic succession means…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
April 24, 2020
German ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance Law

Want to Inherit the Debts of your German Relatives?

Of course not! But inheriting debt from a family member who lives abroad is a real risk under German law! The concept of inheriting debts from deceased relatives stuns people, especially lawyers, from common law jurisdictions like Britain or the USA. There the basic rule is: Personal debt dies with the borrower. The executor of the estate will attempt to sell whatever collateral there is and pay off the creditors to the extent possible. All…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
December 16, 2016