Inheritance law is another focus of our legal and notarial activities.

Statistics show that less than one third of Germans make a decision about their estate at all. This is all the more astonishing given that assets amounting to 2.6 trillion euros are expected to be inherited in Germany by 2020. That is more than a quarter of the total assets of private households.

A thorough consultation is therefore of great importance. We advise on planning your inheritance as well as in case of accrual of an inheritance. We provide support in all matters of strategic and tax related questions. We provide comprehensive know-how in the handling of estates. We will also assist you in the prosecution or defence of your claims.

Main areas of our activity in inheritance law are:

Advice on inheritance law 
We will advise you in all areas of inheritance law and asset succession. If, for example, you have been appointed as executor by a disposition (last will and testament or contract of inheritance), a large number of rights and obligations must be observed after acceptance. However, if the executor – consciously or unconsciously – violates the duties incumbent upon him, this may result in a liability for damages against the heirs.

Also with regard to other matters of inheritance law, e.g.

  • the successful settlement of a community of heirs,
  • the fulfilment or defence of claims to a compulsory portion,
  • issues of social assistance redress or in connection with the continuation of an inherited business,

economic success and family peace can often only be achieved through early and interest-oriented consultation.

Inheritance related drafting 
Inheritance related drafting of, in particular,

  • inheritance contracts,
  • last wills,
  • powers of attorney,

is a main area of our activities, of both our lawyers and notaries.

If a testator has not made a testamentary disposition (last willor contract of inheritance), the rules of intestacy who becomes heir. However, the rules of intestacy often do not correspond to the interests and wishes of the testator. For example, under the rules of intestacy in many case a a community of heirs will be formed consisting of the spouse and relatives, in case a spouse dies. In contrast, unmarried couples do not inherit anything from each other according to the law.

Finally, an unplanned inheritance may even lead to the destruction of the  assets of many families and a company’s economic ruin.

If there is a testamentary disposition, the rules of intestacy do not apply. The testator may determine the succession by an individual will or an inheritance contract. Spouses and partners in a registered civil partnership also have the option of drawing up a joint will (spousal will).

In addition to drawing up a will or contract of inheritance, the transfer of assets, in particular real estate, to the next generation during one’s lifetime may also be an option.

Inheritance management
In case of inheritance you are confronted with countless problems that need to be solved.

These could include

  • the delivery of a will to the probate court,
  • the valuation of properties by an expert,
  • the creation of an estate inventory,
  • a judicial hearing for the determination of heirs or 
  • opening of a will,
  • issues relating to the acceptance or timely and effective renouncement of the inheritance
  • or limitation of the heir’s liability for debts of the testator

In addition, issues such as

  • Do I need a certificate of heirship?
  • Are there any problems with the bank?
  • What about life insurance?

need to be answered.

We will guide you through the “jungle” of regulations and forms that an inheritance entails and provide support in the practical implementation, quickly and cost effectively.

Litigation
In addition to the growing need for advice with regard to asset succession planning, the number of inheritance lawsuits has also risen steadily in recent years.

We represent our clients

  • in inheritance certificate proceedings,
  • in inheritance disputes,
  • procedures regarding compulsory partitions by public auction
  • in the contesting of a will,
  • in the fulfillment of legacies,
  • or in the defence or assertion of claims to a compulsory portion

International inheritancelaw
The world is moving closer together and it is not unusual for assets to be spread across several countries and families are no longer living “around the corner”. So if you, for example

  • have assets and relatives abroad,
  • have inherited abroad,
  • own a finca in Spain or an apartment in Florida,
  • have a securities account in Luxembourg,
  • or your daughter has been living in Italy for a long time,

there may be issues of international inheritance law to consider. In the field of inheritance law we are active nationally as well as internationally. If a foreign law applies, we cooperate with experts in this field of law.

Our specialists for Inheritance law are

Dr. Wulf Albach

Lawyer & Notary
Specialist lawyer for labour law
& commercial and corporate law


Dr. Rainer Wieland

Lawyer & Notary
Specialist lawyer for tax law
& tenancy, condominium and real estate law
& industrial property protection