In real terms, the Pflichtteil amount will entirely depend on the amounts within the will and the number of heirs. The rule is that the Pflichtteil is half of what the heir would have been entitled to under statutory requirements. Therefore, if the Pflichtteil condition refers to a child who would have been entitled to 1/4 of the estate under statutory provisions, the Pflichtteil allows them to 1/8 of the estate.
If the testator tries to leave a statutory heir below the Pflichtteil amount, they will claim the balance from the other heirs. In this case, if the statutory heir is entitled to €20,000 but only received €5,000 in the will, they will be able to seek the extra €15,000, which they should be allowed.
The estate’s value will be based on comparing the assets to the estate’s liabilities. Once the liabilities are deducted from the assets, the remaining surplus is the amount from which the Pflichtteil will be determined. The liabilities included here are debts accrued by contractual obligations, taxes owed and loans that need to be repaid.
The Nature of the Pflichtteil
The Pflichtteil is a monetary sum; it does not consist of the testator’s individual assets. Therefore, when claiming the Pflichtteil, the statutory heir cannot make demands regarding the individual assets of the testator, which they may have left to other individuals. The statutory heir entitled to the Pflichtteil can thus only demand that they are compensated for the monetary amount relating to the amount they would be allowed.
Supplementation of the Pflichtteil – Gifts
In cases where the testator tries to “get around” the” Pflichtteil by giving gifts to 3rd parties to reduce the inheritance, there is recourse for statutory heirs. In this instance, it involves the testator giving assets to others so that the estate’s overall size has reduced. In such cases, the statutory heir can supplement their Pflichtteil per § 2325 BGB by adding the value of the gifts to the overall estate.
Thus, if the value of a gift were €20,000, this amount would be added to the estate valuation. However, there are limitations to this claim.
Firstly, the gifts in question refer to contributions made in the ten years before the testator’s passing. Gifts made before this time are not generally included in this calculation.
Secondly, the valuation of the gift reduces over time from when it was given. The valuation declines by 10% per year until after 10 years. It can no longer be claimed as a supplement to the Pflichtteil.
So if the gift was made during the year of the testator’s passing, then the statutory heir can add 100% of the value of the gift to the rest of the estate. When this gift has been added to the estate valuation, the Pflichtteil increases in value.