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What is Eidesstattliche Versicherung (declaration in lieu of an oath)?

In German inheritance law if you apply for a certificate of inheritance, you have to describe the family relations of the testator – particularly in case of intestacy. This information is needed by the court to state who is the legal heir of the estate and in what proportion. 

After making the declaration you have to confirm that what you say is true. And this does not have to be done by oath, but by a confirmation instead of an oath – „in lieu of an oath“. 

The background is that such declaration has a high value – because making such declaration which is not true – even only by mistake! – constitutes a criminal offense in German law. 

But for a valid „declaration in lieu of an oath“ the statement has to be done before a GERMAN notary of a GERMAN officer of the consulate at the German Embassy. 

This might be very onerous – maybe because Germany and/or the German Embassy are very far away, you do not get an appointment there within a reasonable time, the person making the declaration is elderly and cannot move easily etc. 

In such cases you might get a dispensation – but for that you have to know the ropes of the procedure. Rather ask somebody who is competent. 

Dr. Donat Ebert
Rechtsanwalt / Lawyer (HU, D)



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