Inheritance Matters


Are you in search of information on what to do regarding an inheritance? Or are you looking for information on how to make provisions for your own estate?
Or do you wish to renounce an inheritance?

Applicable Law

Handschriftlicher Schriftzug Testament
Testament© picture-alliance/ dpa

On 17.08.2015, the European Succession Regulation (EUErbVO) has come into effect, stipulating important changes:


Before 2015, the question of succession was governed by German law if the deceased was a German citizen. Since 17.08.2015, the question of succession is governed by the law of the place of last residence, regardless of the person's citizenship, unless the testator made contrary provisions in his last will and testament. This major change in law will have considerable effect on questions of inheritance in a great number of cases.

See here for more information.

Have You Made an Inheritance?

An estate in South Africa will be governed by and administrated according to South African law and procedure. You should contact South African authorities or a South African attorney for assistance.

If there is an estate in Germany (for example a bank account or real estate), the heirs might be in need of a certificate of inheritance (“Erbschein”) as proof and in order to take possession of the estate. Read here

Renouncing an Inheritance

Do you wish to renounce an inheritance in Germany, for example because the estate is insolvent? According to German law, the heirs may renounce their inheritance to the German Surrogate Court within six weeks. If the decedent had the last habitual residence outside Germany or the heirs are outside Germany at the time of getting knowledge of the inheritance, the renunciation can be made within six months after receiving knowledge of the inheritance. The declaration of renouncement requires a certified signature. Parents, who act as guardians for their children must both be present in order to sign the renouncement of inheritance.

You can use this form

Read here about how to obtain a certified signature.

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