Regulation (EU) No. 650/2012 (inheritance law regulation)

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Regulation (EU) No. 650/2012

Title: Regulation (EU) No. 650/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012 on jurisdiction, applicable law, the recognition and enforcement of judgments and the acceptance and enforcement of authentic documents in matters of succession and the introduction of a European Certificate of Succession
(not official)
Inheritance Ordinance
Scope: EU
Legal matter: civil right
Basis: TFEU , in particular Art. 81 para. 2
Procedure overview: European Commission
European Parliament
To be used from: 17th August 2015
Reference: OJ L 201 of 27.7.2012, pp. 107-134
Full text Consolidated version (not official)
basic version
Regulation has entered into force and is applicable.
Please note the information on the current version of legal acts of the European Union !

The Regulation (EU) no. 650/2012 (inheritance law, EuErbVO, EU ErbVO) is an EU-wide, comprehensive inheritance regulation, which was adopted on 8 June 2012 by the Council of EU justice ministers. The regulation was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on July 27, 2012 and entered into force on August 16, 2012. It applies to all inheritance cases in the EU member states from August 17, 2015 (Article 84), with the exception of Denmark , Ireland and the United Kingdom .


The ordinance lays down uniform rules on which inheritance law is to be applied to an international case of inheritance (standardization of international private law). It applies to both legal and voluntary succession . An "international succession" always occurs when a citizen of one country dies in another country and has movable or immovable property in that country. Since the applicable law of inheritance is determined according to the same rules in all EU member states (except Denmark, Ireland and Great Britain), the current legal fragmentation in the assessment of cross-border inheritance matters is attempted in future.

Applicable Law

The general rule says: The inheritance law of the state in which the testator had his last habitual residence is applied (Art 21 (1) EU Inheritance Regulation).

Example 1 : A German citizen moves from Berlin to Marbella (Spain) after retirement. He lived there for a few years and died in 2016. He is inherited under Spanish law and not under German inheritance law.

Example 2 : A French citizen moves to Stuttgart and starts a family there. He dies in 2016. He is inherited according to German inheritance law.

Only if, as an exception, the totality of the circumstances shows that the testator had an obviously closer connection to a country other than the state of habitual residence at the time of his death, the law of that other state shall apply to the legal succession of death (Art. 21 (2) of the Ordinance).

Choice of law

However, the law of the state to which the testator belongs can be chosen through a will ( will or inheritance contract ) (Art 22 EU Inheritance Regulation). Example: An Austrian living permanently in Germany can also choose the inheritance law of Austria. However, he is not allowed to B. to choose the inheritance law of Italy , provided that there is no particular legal close reference to it. Those who are citizens of several states can choose one of these states for the choice of inheritance law, even if this is not a member state of the European Union (Article 20 EU Inheritance Regulation).

European Certificate of Succession

The EU Succession Ordinance introduces the European Succession Certificate ("certificate" for short), a document that is valid throughout Europe (Art 62 EU Succession Ordinance).

" The certificate is intended for use by heirs, by legatees with direct authorization to the estate and by executors or administrators who have to invoke their legal status in another Member State or exercise their rights as heirs or legatees or their powers as executors or administrators " (Article 63 Paragraph 1 EU Inheritance Regulation). The European succession certificate remains with the issuing authority (original of the certificate, see Article 70 (1) EU Inheritance Regulation). The issuing authority issues one or more certified copies to every applicant and every other person who can prove a legitimate interest, but these are valid for a maximum of six months (Article 70 Paragraph 3 EU Inheritance Regulation).

The European certificate of succession is comparable to the certificate of inheritance used in Germany .


The courts of the Union Member State in whose territory the deceased was habitually resident at the time of his death have general jurisdiction for decisions on inheritance matters for the entire estate (Article 4 EU Inheritance Regulation).

By means of a written, joint and consistent agreement on the place of jurisdiction, the parties concerned (e.g. heirs) may, under certain circumstances, agree that a court or the courts of another Member State should have exclusive jurisdiction for decisions on an inheritance matter (Article 5 EU Inheritance Regulation).

The courts of a member state of the Union may, at the request of one of the parties to the proceedings, declare that they have no jurisdiction if, in their opinion, the courts of the member state of the law chosen are better able to rule on the inheritance, taking into account the specific circumstances of the inheritance, such as the habitual residence of the parties and the The place where the assets are located or a court declares that it has no jurisdiction if the parties to the proceedings have agreed the jurisdiction of a court or the courts of the Member State of the law chosen (Article 6 of the EU Inheritance Regulation). Special competences exist according to Article 10 and an emergency competence according to Article 11 of the EU Inheritance Regulation (forum necessitatis).

Recognition and Enforcement


The decisions made in one member state are recognized in the other member states without the need for a special procedure (Article 39 (1) EU Inheritance Regulation).

According to Article 40 EU Inheritance Regulation, a decision may not be recognized if

  • the recognition of public policy ( ordre public ) of the Union Member State in which it is relied on would manifestly run counter to;
  • the defendant who did not enter into the proceedings, the document instituting the proceedings or an equivalent document was not served in sufficient time and in such a way that he could defend himself, unless the defendant did not contest the decision despite him had the opportunity to do so;
  • it is incompatible with a decision given in proceedings between the same parties in the Member State in which recognition is sought;
  • it is incompatible with an earlier decision given in another Union Member State or in a third country in proceedings between the same parties relating to the same claim, provided that the earlier decision meets the necessary requirements for its recognition in the Member State in which the recognition is sought , Fulfills.


The decisions issued in one member state and enforceable in that state are enforceable in another EU member state if they have been declared enforceable there at the request of an entitled person in accordance with the procedure of Articles 45 to 58 of the EU Inheritance Regulation (Article 43 EU Inheritance Regulation). In principle, the court that has to carry out the enforcement is not entitled to examine the content of the decision.

Legal matters excluded from the EU Inheritance Regulation

According to Art 1 of the Regulation, the following are expressly excluded from the EU Inheritance Regulation:

  • Tax and customs matters;
  • administrative matters;
  • the civil status as well as family relationships and relationships that have comparable effects under the law applicable to these relationships;
  • in principle, the legal capacity and capacity to act of natural persons (see Article 23 paragraph 2 letter c and Article 26 of the Regulation);
  • Questions regarding the missing or missing of a natural person or the presumption of death;
  • Questions of matrimonial property law and property law based on relationships which, according to the law applicable to these relationships, have effects comparable to those of marriage;
  • Maintenance obligations other than those that arise with death;
  • the formal validity of oral dispositions due to death;
  • Rights and assets that are established or transferred by any means other than succession of death;
  • basically questions of company law, association law and the law of legal persons;
  • the dissolution, expiry and merger of companies, associations or legal persons;
  • the establishment, functioning and dissolution of a trust;
  • partially real rights and
  • any entry of rights to movable or immovable property in a register, including the legal requirements for such an entry, as well as the effects of the entry or the lack of entry of such rights in a register.

Likewise, the regulations on the inheritance-free estate are reserved to the law of the EU member states (Art 33 EU Inheritance Regulation).

Structure of the regulation

    • Articles 1 to 3
    • Articles 4 to 19
    • Articles 20 to 38
    • Articles 39 to 58
    • Articles 59 to 61
    • Articles 62 to 73
    • Articles 74 to 84

Implementation in national law

With the law on international inheritance law and the amendment of regulations on the certificate of inheritance as well as the amendment of other regulations of June 29, 2015 the Inheritance Regulation was implemented in German international private law.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Publication in the Official Journal of the EU on July 27, 2012.
  2. With a few exceptions, the EU Inheritance Regulation applies to deaths that occurred after August 17, 2015 - see Article 83 of the EU Inheritance Regulation for the exceptions.
  3. See Recital 83 of the Regulation.
  4. See recital 82 of the regulation.
  5. Press release of the European Commission of June 7, 2012 (IP / 12/576)
  6. The term: " habitual residence " is not defined in more detail in the EU Inheritance Regulation and therefore needs to be interpreted. In recital 23 of the EU Inheritance Regulation, it is stated: " When determining the habitual residence, the authority dealing with the inheritance should make an overall assessment of the deceased's living conditions in the years before and at the time of his death, taking into account all relevant facts, in particular the duration and regularity of the testator's stay in the country concerned, as well as the related circumstances and reasons ”. See also recitals 24 and 25.
  7. To what extent and in what amount z. B. inheritance tax is therefore determined by the regulations of the relevant Union member state .
  8. BGBl. I, 1042