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Apply for a sole inheritance certificate based on a will or contract of inheritance

The probate court will issue you the sole inheritance certificate. It certifies that you are the only person who is the heir, meaning that you alone are the legal successor to the testator. This is the case if the deceased person named you as sole or...

The probate court will issue you the sole inheritance certificate. It certifies that you are the only person who is the heir, meaning that you alone are the legal successor to the testator. This is the case if the deceased person named you as sole or universal heir in the will or inheritance contract.
For example, the inheritance certificate gives you access to the deceased person's bank accounts or you can request entries in the land register.

As a rule, a certificate of inheritance is not necessary for a clear will recorded before a notary.

Important notes

Prerequisites

You can only apply for a certificate of inheritance if you are the sole heir.

Documents required

  • Official photo identification, for example ID card or passport
  • Death certificate of the deceased person, i.e. the testator
  • Information about whether there is a process regarding your inheritance law
  • Proof why certain people who would actually be (co-)heirs are not heirs, for example:
    • Death certificates
    • Declarations of renunciation of inheritance
    • Inheritance waivers
  • Wills or inheritance contracts or at least the information about them, for example in the case of special official custody
  • For married couples: if necessary, proof of the property regime
  • For registered civil partnerships: if necessary, proof of assets

Please note

No

Deadlines

No

Procedure & Fees

Procedure

You apply for a sole inheritance certificate at the responsible probate court (usually the court in whose district the deceased last lived):

  • Submit an application for a sole inheritance certificate to be issued there.
  • Use the form provided: Appointment, inheritance certificate application
  • Attach all required documents to your letter.
  • Alternatively, you can submit the application through an authorized person, such as a notary or lawyer, or submit it for the record in court.
  • Submit an affirmation in lieu of oath in person before the district court or before a notary. This assures you that you are not aware of anything that would conflict with the accuracy of the information you provided in the inheritance certificate application.
    • This is not necessary if the district court waives it.
    • If a notary certifies the insurance under oath, this person can certify the inheritance certificate application at the same time.
  • The district court checks your eligibility and issues the certificate of inheritance.

Processing time

Depends on the district court.

Fees


  • The amount of the fees depends on the value of the estate after deducting the debts of the deceased.

  • The issuance of a sole inheritance certificate by the probate court costs, for example

  • with an estate value of EUR 30,000 EUR 125.00,

  • with an estate value of EUR 100,000 EUR 273.00 and

  • with an estate value of EUR 500,000 EUR 935.00.

  • In addition, you must pay the same amount of fees for notarizing an affidavit at the probate court or at a notary. In addition, there may be writing expenses and sales tax.

Table of fees: Court and Notary Fees Act (GNotKG) Annex 2 (to Section 34 Paragraph 3)

  • An advance on costs is required for applicants residing abroad.

Legal notes

Legal remedies

Complaint




If there are conflicting interests in the inheritance certificate procedure before the probate court, the probate court may not issue the certificate of inheritance immediately. The district court issues a decision in which it states that it considers the facts necessary to justify the application for a certificate of inheritance to have been established. According to Sections 58 and 63 FamFG, those involved then have the opportunity to lodge a so-called appeal against this decision within a period of one month. The certificate of inheritance will only be issued if no one has lodged a complaint against the probate court's decision after the one-month period has expired and the decision has therefore become legally binding. In addition, according to Section 59 FamFG, the person who was unable to convince the probate court with their arguments in the inheritance certificate procedure and whose rights are thereby impaired can file a complaint.





challenge




By applying for the certificate of inheritance, the inheritance is automatically deemed to have been accepted - it is then no longer possible to renounce the inheritance.


Heirs can then only avert the inheritance by contesting the acceptance of the inheritance. However, a reason must be proven that justifies the challenge (for example certain errors).


It is recommended that you seek legal advice from a lawyer. The district court is not allowed to provide legal advice.



Application for confiscation of the certificate of inheritance

Legal basis

Sections 2353 to 2370 of the German Civil Code (BGB)


§§ 352 to 352 e of the law on the procedure in family matters and in matters of voluntary jurisdiction (FamFG)

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