Heritage (Germany)

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The heritage is after in Germany applicable legal definition of 1922 § BGB one to whom in succession the assets of the testator (the estate devolves) as a whole, either alone or together with others.

The testator can acc. § 2100 BGB also appoint an heir in such a way that he only becomes an heir after another heir has initially become ( subsequent heir ).

Between 2013 and 2020, a third of German private wealth is expected to be passed on to the next generation.

Factual findings

Obtaining the status of heir

One becomes inheritance either through

The probate court determines who is an heir when the will is opened. The result of this determination is the certificate of inheritance with which the heir can identify himself as the new owner.

In Germany around 60,000 people die each year without a will and without a known heir. Can official administrator of the estate in such cases find no heir, be heir investigators commissioned to receive about a quarter to a third of the heritage as a fee.

The legal status of the heir


The heir receives the testator's property . He becomes its legal successor . Only a few legal positions are not inheritable (e.g. the employment contract as a highly personal obligation between the employer and the deceased).

Renunciation of inheritance

The heir has the option of rejecting the inheritance within the statutory period of six weeks after becoming aware of the inheritance ( § 1944 BGB). If the heir fails to meet this deadline, the inheritance is deemed accepted. If the testator was domiciled abroad or if the heir was abroad at the time of the inheritance, the disclaimer period is six months.

The succession must be authenticated publicly . It can either be issued directly to the probate court or in a notary's office , which then has to forward the disclaimer immediately to the probate court. The disclaimer only becomes effective upon receipt by the competent probate court; this point in time is also decisive for the observance of the disclaimer period.

There are costs from the proportionate value of the pure estate in accordance with Section 103 (1) GNotKG in the amount of 0.5 in accordance with fee number 21201 No. 6 and 7 of Annex 1 to the GNotKG. If the disclaimer is submitted to a notary, the statutory sales tax is also due.

The right to reject does not apply after acceptance of the inheritance. This can be done by conclusive (implied) action or applying for a certificate of inheritance .

In the event of erroneous acceptance, rejection or failure to meet the six-week period (= acceptance), the heir may under certain circumstances have the option of contesting the inheritance (in practice the most important case is misunderstanding that the estate is overindebted), § 1954 BGB.

Liability of the heir

According to § 1967 BGB, the heir is liable for the estate liabilities . However, the heir has the option of liability by way of discount for bankruptcy , the administration of the estate or the exclusion of individual estate creditors in an array method to restrict.

The claims of other legatees on the heirs must, however, be enforced under civil law in the event of a dispute; the probate court is not responsible for this.

Claims of the heir

Since the heir is the legal successor of the testator, he can assert all claims of the testator against third parties. Furthermore, according to § 2018 BGB , the heir has a right to the surrender of the estate from those persons (inheritance owners) who own the assets.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Erbe  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. a b Sabrina Keßler: Hunter of the lost treasure . In: Handelsblatt . No. 175 , September 11, 2013, p. 32 .