Find answers to the most common questions on German probate law
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Are probate procedures (Nachlassverfahren) before a court in Germany required in any thinkable constellation?
Although the answer is no, with all regularity probate proce¬dures in Germany are required, regardless if there is a testamentary disposition existing or an interstate succession. The most relevant exemptions, for which no probate procedures are required are (a) a German notary notarized a last will and testament or inheritance contract, which has formally been opened-up or, there neither are bank nor security deposit accounts in the German estate, nor any German real property.
Will German banks or authorities be fine with a presentation of the last will by me?
No, with all regularity, the last will and testament´s (original´s) presentation in relation to a German bank is not sufficient. With all regularity, a German bank will not even provide any information about existing accounts etc., based on the mere presentation of the last will, except a German notarial last will and testament, together with the minutes about its formal opening-up by the probate court can be presented to the German bank.
How can I prove my position as a sole or a co-heir of the German estate?
In order to prove your position in relation to German banks, the land registry office or other authorities or third parties in Germany, you need a German certificate of inheritance or a German certificate of heirship (Erbschein). This is an official document which is issued by the competent probate court, only up on a respective application for said certificate. The probate court will check the inheritance law-situation before it issues the certificate of inheritance. The procedures are very formal and the correspondence exclusively is in German.
Will my appointment as an executor or estate trustee be accepted in Germany?
With all regularity, any foreign court-document or certification like a grant of probate or a grant of representation will not be accepted by German banks or authorities in order to proof a person´s position as an executor for a last will and testament. This even is true, when on top for a respective foreign court-certificate, the last will and testament´s original with the appointment of an executor will be presented, either.
What do I need to prove/exercise my powers as an executor in Germany?
Before proving your position as an executor of the last will and testament, in relation to the (assets in the) German estate, you need a so-called certificate of executorship or cer-tificate of execution, which can only be issued by a German probate court. Comparable with the procedures in order to obtain a German certificate of inheritance, an application for a German certificate of executorship (Testamentsvollstreckerzeugnis) is required. In cause of the respective court-proceedings, the German probate court will check, if a named executor was validly appointed by the testator and which powers said executor has in relation to the assets in the German estate.
Are the inheritance law rules of my country applicable in Germany, either?
Can I correspond with the German probate court in English?
Will I in any case have to travel to Germany in order to settle the German estate?
Which services will the German Missions in my own country provide?
Do I have to pay any inheritance tax in Germany?
Is there any obligation to file inheritance tax returns for foreigners?
Do the banks take care for the transfer of funds in a bank account to me as a heir?
Will a German bank transfer the money based on a certificate of inheritance?
How long will the initial consultation (video) call be?
Who is Dr. Marcus Hosser, TEP - German Attorney-at-Law?
Dr. Marcus Hosser, a German Attorney-at-Law and German Certified Inheritance Lawyer and German Certified Tax Lawyer, provides highly specialized legal consultation for international cases of succession. As an attorney certified in two fields of law in Germany, he can also counsel about international German inheritance law questions and international inheritance tax law issues (including German double taxation treaties in the field of inheritance tax and estate tax law). In addition, Dr. Hosser is a Trust and Estate Practionier.
What experience do you have with international successions?
Dr. Hosser has years of experience with international succession cases, including estate administrations by executors from abroad. Dr. Hosser also deals with international estate planning, through which he is familiar with many of the potential pitfalls and also solutions to many legal problems. He has published articles about “The return on investment in international succession planning” and about the EU Succession Regulation in English.
Why is Dr. Hosser the right partner to help you?
Dr. Hosser and his law firm offer more than just highly sophisticated legal advice. We achieve personal contact with our customers from abroad through video conferences and phone calls. Furthermore, we strive to help our clients be well-informed so they can be confident in making their own decisions.
Why should we select a Trust and Estate Practionier (TEP)?
Full members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practioniers (STEP Ltd, London) are the most well-versed professionals in the field, with international experience in the legal subfields of trusts, estates, and connected tax law questions. For cross-border inheritances, it is essential to involve an advisor with this level of knowledge and expertise.
Is any study of documents in advance included in the initial consultation?
Will I be charged for an initial consultation by Dr. Hosser or is it for free?
What is the procedure of booking, making the payment, scheduling the (video) call?
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