How to get a certificate of inheritance in Germany?

How to get a certificate of inheritance in Germany?

How to get a certificate of inheritance in Germany?

In order to get access to the estate and solve everything involved with that, in Germany you need usually a certificate of inheritance („Erbschein“). 

There are many documents and pieces of information you need to give to the court competent for the administration of the estate after a death case. 

Concerning the information to be given, these are:

  • Date of death of testator;
  • Nationality of the testator and his/her permanent residence;
  • Description of the family of the testator (e.g. members of the family, relation to testator etc);
  • Whether there was a last will by the testator;
  • Whether there is a legal case pending concerning the inheritance.

The documents are: 

  • Last will – if there is one;
  • Death certificate of testator;
  • Death certificate of close relatives and/or potential heirs;
  • Birth certificates of potential heirs proving their family relation;

If from these documents, the court cannot clearly define who is the heir / who are the heirs, the court might ask for further documents. 

If the documents are issued by foreign authorities, they usually need to be translated, maybe even have to be provided with an „Apostille“ (see article on this website).

The information given by the applicants usually have to be confirmed by a „declaration in lieu of an oath“ (see article on this website). 

The application might need to involve the Embassy of Germany in your country.

The procedure is usually quite complicated and has several pitfalls, also some steps might seem necessary, but can be done without. The involvement of a lawyer experienced in cross-border inheritance cases is recommended. 

If you need competent support in English for the procedure, you can get into contact with us here

Dr. Donat Ebert

Ügyvéd - Rechtsanwalt (HU, D)

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