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Apply for a joint inheritance certificate based on a will or inheritance contract

When a testator dies, he usually leaves not just one heir, but several heirs. When they inherit, they enter the so-called community of heirs. In principle, every individual co-heir can apply for a certificate of inheritance with which they can identify...

When a testator dies, he usually leaves not just one heir, but several heirs. When they inherit, they enter the so-called community of heirs.

In principle, every individual co-heir can apply for a certificate of inheritance with which they can identify themselves as the legal heir to third parties. However, if the community of heirs wants to act together and act towards banks, insurers and the land registry office, a joint certificate of inheritance is often necessary.

As a rule, no certificate of inheritance is required for a clear will recorded before a notary.

Important notes

Prerequisites

There are co-heirs and they would like to apply for a joint inheritance certificate based on a will or inheritance contract.

Documents required

  • Official photo identification e.g. your ID card or passport
  • Death certificate of the testator (deceased person from whom the inheritance is inherited)
  • Family register to document relatives
  • Information about whether there is a process regarding your inheritance law
  • Names and addresses of the co-heirs
  • Evidence of the reason why certain people who would actually inherit are no longer heirs, for example their death certificates, declarations of renunciation of inheritance or inheritance waiver
  • If applicable, wills or inheritance contracts
  • The marital property regime (for married couples) or the asset status (for registered civil partnerships)
  • Form

Please note

Only one of the co-heirs has to submit the inheritance certificate application.

Deadlines

No

Procedure & Fees

Procedure

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

  • Submit an application for a certificate of inheritance to be issued there
  • Use the form provided: Appointment, inheritance certificate application
  • Attach all required documents.
  • The inheritance certificate application only needs to be submitted by one co-heir.
  • Alternatively, you can submit the application through an authorized person, such as a notary; or a lawyer, or declare 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.
  • After you have applied for the certificate of inheritance, the local court will check your eligibility and issue the certificate of inheritance.

Processing time

The processing time depends on the complexity of the inheritance case and the respective local court.

Fees

The amount of the fees depends on the value of the estate (inherited assets) after deducting the debts of the testator (deceased person).



  • The issue of a certificate of inheritance 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

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




  • In addition, you must pay fees of the same amount for notarizing an affidavit at the probate court or at a notary.

  • In addition, there may be writing expenses and sales tax.

  • For applicants residing abroad, an advance payment may be necessary.

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

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.


In accordance with Sections 58 and 63 FamFG, those involved then have the opportunity to lodge an 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.




In the case of partial inheritance certificates and joint inheritance certificates, every heir within the inheritance community is entitled to challenge them.



§ 58 Law on Proceedings in Family Matters and in Matters of Voluntary Jurisdiction (FamFG)

§ 59 Law on Proceedings in Family Matters and in Matters of Voluntary Jurisdiction (FamFG)

§ 63 Law on Proceedings in Family Matters and in Matters of Voluntary Jurisdiction (FamFG)

Legal basis

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