Estate Planning in Germany

Estate planning is an important aspect of inheritance law in Germany. We have previously looked at the requirement for writing a will in Germany. On this page we will examine aspects such as estate planning by contract (the testamentary contract or the contract of inheritance) and explain what steps need to be taken. Following the guidelines laid out ensures that the testator’s wishes are carried out and that their assets are divided appropriately. For more personalised assistance it is recommended to use the form below to write to us about your issues concerning estate planning in Germany. Our inheritance law specialists will be available to assist you in your testamentary contract and future planning.

Your Partner for Estate Planning and Inheritance Law in Germany

Rechtsanwalt für Inkasso und Zwangsvollstreckung: Aykut Elseven

Dr. Thomas Bichat


Estate planning will ensure that your loved ones are provided for

At Schlun & Elseven Attorneys, our inheritance lawyers will be by your side

Estate Planning: What is Involved?

Estate planning allows for greater control over the division and distribution of assets. As can be seen from our page on “Writing wills in Germany” there are certain people under inheritance with whom it is very difficult to disinherit. When it comes to family members in the direct line (children, parents (in cases of those without children) and spouses) there are strict rules when it comes to disinheriting them. For example it is possible in very few cases. For example it is permitted to disinherit in cases where there have been serious criminal offences committed by that person against the testator whereas a complicated relationship is not enough to disinherit. This complicated relationship would include aspects such as limited contact between parent and child for example. § 2303 BGB permits for the “compulsory share” on the part of the heir where they have not been specifically mentioned in the will.

Estate planning by contract may not allow for the complete disinheriting of these individuals but it does provide the testator with a semblance of control with how the assets are distributed. Estate planning by contract is not a necessity on the part of the testator but it is an option available to them. This testamentary contract has to be agreed to by both sides and signed together in the presence of a notary to be valid. A testamentary contract allows to parties to have control over how the assets of the testator are distributed. This may involve the testator or their heirs committing to certain requirements under the contract.

The contract must be agreed to and signed in the presence of a notary and should be designed by a legal professional to ensure that the desires of the parties are planned for correctly. Through using a legal professional, with experience and expertise in the field of inheritance law, the contract will be designed properly in accordance with the aims of those involved.

Contracts of Renunciation of Inheritance or Compulsory Share

The contracts of renunciation of inheritance or compulsory share are other options open to those in the area of estate planning. The contract of renunciation of compulsory share allows for certain assets to be left out of the compulsory share. This will allow these assets to be put aside for the specific purposes of the testator. Of course as a contract this does have to be agreed to by the parties involved.

The contract on renunciation of inheritance does not allow for certain assets to be excluded but instead it makes it possible for the individual to renounce their inheritance partially or completely. Once again individuals should avail of legal assistance from an experienced inheritance lawyer when seeking to use these clauses.

Legal Representation in Inheritance Law Issues

When it comes to estate planning and inheritance law generally; look no further than Schlun & Elseven Attorneys. Our legal professionals will provide you with the peace of mind you need when it comes to planning for the future. Our lawyers will assist with the designing of wills as well as the testamentary contract. We further advise our clients in this area on matters concerning inheritance tax, endowments on any disputes arising between different heirs. We provide counsel and support both inside and outside of the courtroom.

Schlun & Elseven Attorneys is a German legal firm with its main offices in Cologne, Düsseldorf and Aachen. We also have conference rooms in Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, Hamburg and Frankfurt and thus are available nationwide in Germany. Furthermore, we advise a diverse range of international clients on a wide variety of German inheritance law. If you require further advice and more specialised assistance when it comes to estate planning then please make sure to contact us directly using the contact information below. Our inheritance law specialists look forward to working with you.

Contact a lawyer for German Inheritance Law with Estate Planning

Please use the form on the right to inform us about your concerns concerning estate planning. After receiving your request, we will make a short preliminary assessment on the basis of the information provided and give you a cost estimation. You are then free to decide whether you want to instruct our inheritance law team.

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