Unreadable last will

Unreadable last will

Unreadable last will is invalid in German inheritance law

The Court of Appeals in Schleswig-Holstein decided in this sense concerning an unreadable last will in its judgement from 16.07.2015, case-number: 3 Wx 19/15. 

In the given case even the involvement of a graphologist could not help to fully decipher the hand-writing of the testator.

In German inheritance law, a testator has to possibilities to put down his will for the estate after his/her death. One way is to entrust a public notary with the making of the testament. The other is a hand-written last will which has to be written by the testator´s own hand from A to Z and has to be signed by him/her. 

But this handwriting has to be also readable, otherwise it cannot be valid. 

The cited judgement is correct and consistent with the requirement of a fully hand-written last will: If its content is indecipherable it cannot have any effect. 

The consequence of an invalid last will is either the one of intestacy or that a testament written earlier becomes again effective. This might be a result the testator did not want. But then s/he should have taken care that the last will is readable. 

If you have any question concerning German inheritance law, do not hesitate to contact us here.

Dr. Donat Ebert

Dr. Donat Ebert

Ügyvéd - Rechtsanwalt (HU, D)

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