Claiming inheritance from German father

German citizen resided and died in Italy

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My father passed away recently, he was a German citizen but lived in Italy for about 20 years. He passed away in Italy.

I am an Australian citizen and after my parents divorced we moved form Germany to Australia.

He met a woman and continued living with her from early 90s till his death. They were not married, he lived in house and paid her every month for board.

I am not able to go to Europe for various reasons but I want to claim inheritance and also claim some of his personal effects like childhood photographs. I am aware he is being cremated, how would I also claim some or all of his ashes?

I don't think he owned any properties but I think he may have had investments, bank accounts.

a) I am aware usually you would contact notary public to claim inheritance in Germany. How would I do this if he resided in Italy?

b) Does German law recognise de facto arrangements for the purposes of beneficiaries to a will or inheritance?

c) In Australia, beneficiaries inherit the deceased superannuation/pension that they saved - is this the same as Germany?

Any advise would help.
My guess is that if the deceased has been resident in Italy for so long it is Italien law you have to deal with & not German.

c) In Australia, beneficiaries inherit the deceased superannuation/pension that they saved - is this the same as Germany?
The German state pension is not saved - you gain entitlement (its paid for by the current earners). Thus as I understand it there is no superannuation or saved pension to be passed on to children.
Maybe the deceased had additional pension schemes...
My condolences. I suggest you contact the Italian and German embassy. They must be able to help you.
My guess is that if the deceased has been resident in Italy for so long it is Italien law you have to deal with & not German
As far as I was aware, under EU law the nationality of the deceased dictates the laws of inheritancce and succession but I might be wrong.

His partner went ahead and planned funeral without telling me or asking what I wanted to do. Because of this I can't even attend his funeral. There is not much I can do to stop it.
I would contact the Italian and German embassies for definite advice.
also try to keep things amicable with your dad's partner, especially as you would like to have some of your dad's personal belongings.
Did he have a formal relationship with this woman? "paying her board" sounds rather commercial. If this is the case, then it would seem you are his direct "next of kin" (or at least have a good argument to be considered so) and should be the one calling the shots..
I did a little googling. Italien and german law seem both to agree, that the relevant inheritance law depends on the nationality of the deceased. So the german BGB would be applied in this case (unless the deceased in his last will has decided otherwise). You have to follow italian procedures (whatever they may be) and involve italian authorities though. You might have to pay italian inheritance tax. (source in german)

If a testament exists and doesnt leave anything to you, you still can claim the "Pflichtteil" according to german law. But that would be only a monetary compensation (half of the value of what you would get, if there was no last will).
I was informed today that my father left a will and testament in Germany and that there will be a reading of the will this week or next week. I am unable to attend as I live in Australia.

What would I need to do to obtain a copy of his last will and testament and access any money or property he left to me? Is this something the German courts would administer or would I need to hire a lawyer?
You should, at the very least issue a power of attorney to someone to attend the reading in your name as an interested party and report back to you. If you don't know anyone in the area this may need to be a local lawyer....
Bob Loblaw
There is no need for anyone to attend and typically nobody except the court clerk is present anyway. Just make sure the court knows that you exist and they'll send you a copy.
Could someone tell me which court I would need to contact? The town is Bitburg where the reading of the testament is. Is there a central court or a particular court I need to contact to let them know my details.
Bob Loblaw
Amtsgericht Bitburg
- Nachlassgericht -
Gerichtsstra├če 2/4
54634 Bitburg
Postfach 1151
54621 Bitburg

Telefon: 06561/913-0
Telefax: 06561/913-199
I think I will need to find a lawyer. I speak very little German, I don't know the process of contacting the court, although I assume if I am in his will it will contain my name and therefore the court would need to locate me.

I'm also worried about if he had left debts and that would transfer to my name.
I think that under German law you can decline an inheritance. Best to contact a lawyer and not to sign anything indicating that you accept the inheritance (including possible debts) until you talked to the lawyer.
maztar, you might want to contact a firm such as Schweizer in Australia which specialises in German succession cases. Their fees are listed here.
As you don't list where in Australia you are, I can't give the name of a local company.
The advice may well be cheaper than the flight.
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