Estate guardianship order

If the heirs are unknown and the estate needs to be secured, the probate court can order guardianship of the estate. The estate curator to be appointed secures and manages the estate and looks for relatives.

Important notes


  • Without intervention by the responsible authority, the preservation of the estate would be at risk.
  • The heir or heiress is unknown.
  • It is uncertain whether the heir or heiress will accept the inheritance.
  • Creditors of the estate (persons who have outstanding claims against the deceased) must demonstrate a legal interest in securing the estate. For example, by presenting the rental agreement with the deceased. In addition, the intention to assert a claim against the estate in court must be stated.

Documents required

The application to set up an estate guardianship can be submitted informally.

Please note

Over-indebted estate

If someone dies and leaves an estate that is heavily indebted, no estate guardianship is usually set up. It is not the court's job to ensure that creditors' debts are settled. The state does not pay estate liabilities and does not cover costs incurred by creditors.



Procedure & Fees


  • The creditor of the estate submits an informal application to the probate court to establish guardianship of the estate.
  • The probate court examines whether the estate needs to be secured.
  • If this is the case, the probate court sets up a guardianship of the estate. The guardianship of the estate ends when the need for security no longer applies, for example because an heir has been found.

Processing time

Due to its urgency, the application will be processed as quickly as possible.


The heir or heiress bears the costs of the probate process. The application to set up an estate guardianship is free of charge.

An annual fee is due for the guardianship of the estate in accordance with the Court and Notary Fees Act. It amounts to 10 euros for every 5,000 euros of the estate value, but at least 200 euros.

In addition, the estate curator appointed by the court receives remuneration.

§ 8 GNotKG - Due date for costs

GNotKG - Cost list

Legal notes

Legal remedies


Legal basis

§§ 1960 ff BGB - securing the estate

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