Inheriting in Germany

In Germany, the heir accrues his or her distributive share by death of the testator by law, § 1922 BGB (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, German Civil Code). If the heir lives in Germany, he or she has to decide within six weeks whether he or she wants to accept the inheritance. If nothing happens, he or she becomes heir. If he or she wishes to disclaim the inheritance, he or she shall submit a renunciation declaration within the 6-week-period to a local court or to a notary. If the heir resides abroad, the period extends to 6 months.

In the case the heir or his or her abode is unknown, it is the task of the local court – probate court – in that location where the testator had its last residence, to secure and administer the inheritance.

In order to fulfill this task, the local court – probate court - appoints curators of the estate, § 1960 BGB. Besides the securing and administration of the inheritance, it is the task of the curator of the estate to identify unknown or to find known heirs, whose residence is unknown.

Hence, if you should receive a call or a letter or a contact request of a curator of the estate on an inheritance case, ask for the responsible local court or the file number. With this information you can immediately and easily verify, if the curator of the estate is a legally appointed official, and whether he or she is legitimated to look for heirs.

There are also “independent” heir finders. These heir finders work on their own initiative. Normally they are not legally appointed and work for a success fee.

Reliable heir finders do not demand advances. They arrange a contingency fee with you from the estate assets. Payments are due not until when there is a certificate of heirship, the certificate that you have become heir. Also here, the question on the last residence of the testator gives the possibility to verify whether it is a real accrual of the inheritance.

In case you have received a call or a contact request from my office, please contact us. We will give you any necessary information in order for you to receive your distributive share.
Our motto is: Discover, develop, achieve potentials. We also verify the impairment of estates for you - most certainly within the 6-week-period.