Capacity to testify in German law of succession

Capacity to testify in German law of succession

The capacity to testify is of course one of the fundamental requirements of a valid last will in German law of succession

Being a commonplace, in practice the question of full capacity to testify can often pose very delicate problems.

German jurisdiction is full of examples where parties argue over the question whether the testator was intellectually and mentally apt to understand what his/her disposition really meant. 

Very often the issue is whether the otherwise mentally handicapped person – suffering for example from Parkinson, Alzheimer or also cancer – had a „lucid moment“ when he/she testified.

Proof can be very difficult and often only be gained with the help of a medical expert, be it a psychiatrist or neurologist. 

When such doubts might arise, it seems advisable that the testator consults a neurologist on the day, when he/she testifies. With such medical certificate accompanying the testament, it is practically not possible to deny the capacity in front of a court with any prospect of success. 

If you have any further question, do not hesitate to contact us here.


Dr. Donat Ebert

Ügyvéd - Rechtsanwalt (HU, D)

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