Waiver of inheritance at the notary

Anyone who has become an heir must decide whether to accept or reject the inheritance. If you do not want to accept an inheritance, you can declare your rejection of the inheritance to a notary, have it certified and submit it to the probate court.

Important notes


You are an heir and would like to refuse an inheritance.

Documents required

  • Identity card or passport with registration certificate
  • It is not mandatory to present the death certificate. If there is no death certificate, you must provide the full name (including maiden name), date of death and last habitual residence of the deceased person.
  • Specifying minor children as co-heirs. If necessary, the approval of the family court is required (the probate court will provide information on this). The approval must be proven to the probate court within the rejection period (6 weeks).
  • If a guardian declares the refusal, the approval of the guardianship court is required. Proof of approval must be provided within the rejection period.

Please note

Minor children:

  • For underage children, only the legal representative can renounce the inheritance. The legal representative is the person who has custody of the child. If both parents have custody, they can only renounce the inheritance for their child jointly.
  • In certain situations, the approval of the family court is also required (information on this can be obtained from the probate court).


  • If you are habitually resident abroad, you may be able to refuse your visa at a German consulate. If necessary, contact the local German diplomatic mission.

Please note:
The probate court does not provide legal advice. Please contact the persons authorized to provide legal advice. These are lawyers or notaries.
The Public Legal Advice Service (ÖRA) offers low-cost legal advice for people with low incomes.


  • The formal renunciation must be received by the responsible probate court within six weeks of the moment you learn of your status as heir.

  • Make an appointment with the notary so that there is enough time to submit the declaration of renunciation to the responsible probate court.

  • If you have been named as an heir through a will or inheritance contract, the period only begins when the probate court has announced the disposition of the estate.

  • The period is six months if the deceased's last place of residence was abroad or if you, as the heir, were abroad at the start of the period.

Procedure & Fees


  • You arrange an appointment to renounce the property with a notary of your choice.
  • They declare their renunciation in a notarized form.
  • Either the notary forwards the renunciation to the responsible probate court or you yourself submit the declaration of renunciation to the responsible probate court.
  • The formal declaration of renunciation must be received by the responsible probate court within six weeks of becoming aware of your status as heir.

Processing time

An appointment with the notary is required. On the website   you can find a notary in your area. You can declare your rejection directly at the appointment.


The fees for renouncing an inheritance depend on the value of the inheritance.

Minimum fee 30 euros plus VAT. Additional fees may be incurred, for example, for the production of the design.

Legal notes

Legal remedies


  • In principle, the inheritance can no longer be refused if the heir has accepted the inheritance, i.e. has shown through his or her behavior that he or she accepts the position as successor to the deceased.

  • If the heir did not know that the estate was over-indebted, or if certain other errors exist, he or she can contest the acceptance of the inheritance.

  • Contesting the acceptance of the inheritance has the same effect as a rejection.

  • Due to complex circumstances, it is often advisable to seek legal advice from a lawyer in good time. The probate court is not permitted to provide advice.

Legal basis

Service description

If you have become an heir, you must decide whether to accept or reject the inheritance. This applies regardless of whether you are inheriting by legal succession, a will or an inheritance contract. First, find out what assets and debts there are (debts are also inherited).

If you do not wish to accept the inheritance, you must expressly declare that you are renouncing it. It is not enough to submit a written declaration. If you renouncing it, this applies to the entire estate. Partial renouncing (only the debts) is not possible. If you do not declare a renouncing it, this automatically counts as acceptance of the inheritance.

You can declare your renunciation of the inheritance to a notary and have it certified.
The notary or you must submit the declaration to the responsible probate court within the six-week period.
The competent probate court is the court in whose district the testator had his habitual residence at the time of his death (the usual place of residence of the deceased person).

If the inheritance has been effectively renounced, the person renouncing it will be treated as if the inheritance had never occurred.

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