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Apply for a limited joint partial inheritance certificate as a pre- or post-inheritance

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.
The joint partial inheritance certificate is issued for the inheritance rights of several but not all co-heirs at the request of a co-heir, for example if a co-heir has emigrated and is therefore unavailable.
By arranging a pre- and post-inheritance in the will, it is determined who will become the deceased's heir first (pre-inheritance) and who will become the heir after this (subsequent heir). The previous heir can therefore use the inheritance for the period until the subsequent inheritance occurs. The subsequent heir only becomes the testator's heir when the previous inheritance ends. The certificate of inheritance issued to the previous heir must state that a subsequent inheritance has been ordered, under what conditions it occurs and who the subsequent heir is.

A certificate of inheritance limited to certain items in Germany (restricted certificate of inheritance) can be issued by the probate court upon application if the estate (inherited assets) also includes items located abroad. A restricted certificate of inheritance should be applied for if this will speed up the process of issuing the certificate of inheritance (e.g. because no foreign inheritance law needs to be determined), or because the certificate of inheritance is not needed abroad and the restriction can save costs.

§ 352c Law on Proceedings in Family Matters and in Matters of Voluntary Jurisdiction (FamFG)

Important notes

Prerequisites

There are co-heirs and they would like to apply for a joint inheritance certificate and the testator has ordered a pre- and post-inheritance in a last will and testament (will or inheritance contract) and the estate items are located both in Germany and abroad. However, not all co-heirs are available to apply.

Documents required

  • Official photo ID, for example your ID card or passport
  • Death certificate of the testator (deceased person from whom the inheritance is to be 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
  • All existing wills or inheritance contracts
  • The marital property regime (for married couples) or the asset status (for registered civil partnerships)
  • Evidence that estate items are located abroad

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 district 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 local 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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