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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 Rechtsanwalt - Lawyer germanlawyer@email.de

Dr. Donat Ebert
Rechtsanwalt – Lawyer
germanlawyer@email.de

 

 

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