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Apply for a joint inheritance certificate as a pre- or subsequent heir

Each co-heir can apply to the probate court for a so-called joint inheritance certificate for several heirs. If there is a previous and subsequent inheritance, the inheritance certificate shows this.

Detailed description

When a testator dies, he usually leaves behind not just one heir, but several. These heirs join the so-called community of heirs when the inheritance takes place. Only after the inheritance has been settled is the estate (inherited assets) divided among the individual heirs.

In principle, each individual co-heir can apply for a certificate of inheritance with which he can identify himself as the rightful heir to third parties. However, if the community of heirs wants to appear together and act in front of banks, insurers and the land registry, a joint certificate of inheritance is often necessary.

By arranging a pre- and post-inheritance in the will, it is determined who will inherit the deceased testator first (pre-heir) and who will inherit after this (post-heir). The pre-heir can thus use the inheritance for the period until the post-inheritance occurs. The post-heir only becomes the testator's heir when the pre-inheritance ends. The certificate of inheritance issued to the pre-heir must state that a post-inheritance has been arranged, under what conditions it occurs and who the post-heir is.




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).

Documents required

  • Official photo identification e.g. 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)

Please note

Only one of the co-heirs must submit the application for a certificate of inheritance.

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




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

  • Submit an application for a certificate of inheritance
  • Please use the form provided.
  • Attach all required documents.
  • The application for a certificate of inheritance must only be submitted by one co-heir.
  • Alternatively, you can submit the application through an authorized person, such as a notary or a lawyer, or have it recorded in court.
  • Make a declaration in person before the district court or before a notary public, confirming that you are not aware of anything that would contradict the accuracy of the information you have provided in the application for a certificate of inheritance.
    • This is not necessary if the district court waives it.
    • If a notary certifies the declaration under oath, this person can at the same time certify the application for a certificate of inheritance.
  • 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.


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

  • For example, the issuing of a certificate of inheritance by the probate court costs:

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

    • for an estate value of EUR 100,000 EUR 273.00

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

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

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

  • Applicants residing abroad may be required to pay an advance on costs.

Legal remedies


If there are conflicting interests in the inheritance certificate procedure before the probate court, the probate court may not issue the inheritance certificate immediately.

The district court issues a decision stating that it considers the facts necessary to substantiate the application for a certificate of inheritance to have been established.

The parties then have the opportunity, in accordance with Sections 58 and 63 FamFG, to lodge an appeal against this decision within a period of one month.

The certificate of inheritance will only be issued if, after the expiry of the one-month period, no one has lodged an appeal against the decision of the probate court and the decision has thus become final and binding.

In addition, according to Section 59 FamFG, a person who was unable to convince the probate court with his or her arguments in the inheritance certificate procedure and whose rights are thereby impaired can file an appeal.


By applying for the certificate of inheritance, the inheritance is automatically considered accepted – renouncing the inheritance is then no longer possible.

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

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

Sole heir certificates can only be contested by sole heirs.

In the case of partial and joint inheritance certificates, each heir within the community of heirs is entitled to contest the certificate.

Legal basis

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Keywords: apply for a certificate of inheritance several heirs not all heirs Community of heirs Pre- and post-inheritance

Last updated: 13.07.2024