Inheritance of a joint account

108 posts in this topic

Unfortunately my German husband passed away from cancer a few weeks ago. :(

 

We no longer live in Germany, but I lived in Germany for several years with him where we saved up 6-figures together and have it all in a joint Giro and Depotkonto. I'm the primary account holder, and he is secondary. He has no will.

 

Do I need to share this money with his family? He has parents, a grandma, siblings, nieces, nephews. If so, how much do I share percentage wise?

 

Do I need to pay inheritance tax (Erbschaftsteuer) even though it is also my account? 

 

Am I able to inherit any of his pension?

 

We are legally married in Germany and have no pre-nuptial agreements, wills, or special marriage contracts.

 

Many thanks for your help. 

 

 

 

 

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I'm terribly sorry for your loss.

 

I can't answer your questions but hopefully someone will come along and give you some guidance.

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2 minutes ago, fraufruit said:

I'm terribly sorry for your loss.

 

I can't answer your questions but hopefully someone will come along and give you some guidance.

 

Thank you fraufruit. I'm completely gutted but life goes on and I need to take care of tedious things like this. 

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I"m so very sorry Yessica.  It is indeed painful to take care of these tasks following a devastating blow such as yours.  And I don't want to muddy the waters by speculating on the answers to your questions since I'm no expert.  I wish you strength and peace as you move forward.  Beth Ann

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8 minutes ago, BethAnnBitt said:

I"m so very sorry Yessica.  It is indeed painful to take care of these tasks following a devastating blow such as yours.  And I don't want to muddy the waters by speculating on the answers to your questions since I'm no expert.  I wish you strength and peace as you move forward.  Beth Ann

 

Thanks BethAnnBitt for the well wishes. It is quite devastating.

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1 hour ago, Yessica said:

We no longer live in Germany, but I lived in Germany for several years with him where we saved up 6-figures together and have it all in a joint Giro and Depotkonto. I'm the primary account holder, and he is secondary. He has no will.

 

Where is this money stored?  In Germany, Canada or elsewhere?

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6 minutes ago, HEM said:

 

Where is this money stored?  In Germany, Canada or elsewhere?

 

The money is stored both in Canada and Germany, all in joint accounts with me and him.

 

I think I have a handle on the Canadian side, so my question is specifically about the German rules and accounts.

 

My husband died in Canada and we were resident in Canada the last 2 years, in case that makes a difference.

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Given those facts I would guess its nothing to do with Germany.

If the matter was to be dealt with in DE only spouses & children "must" receive a share.

 

But our Panda is your expert.

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2 minutes ago, HEM said:

Given those facts I would guess its nothing to do with Germany.

If the matter was to be dealt with in DE only spouses & children "must" receive a share.

 

But our Panda is your expert.

 

Thank you for your help HEM. I'm going to the German consulate in a few weeks and I can ask to see if they know. 

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If the account in Germany was a joint account, AFAIK it is now yours. At least that is what Himself tells me about our German accounts but he also has a will. I would need to provide death certificate to take over. 

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I'm sorry about your husband.

 

According to  https://www.erbrecht-ratgeber.de/erbrecht/pflichtteil/eltern.html  it looks like if you don't have children, his parents have the right to inherit half of his half of your common assets.  His siblings and their kids don't inherit because his parents are alive.

 

However, according to  https://www.erbrecht-ratgeber.de/erbrecht/erbschaft/oder-konto-erbfall.html  a shared account can pose a problem because you could argue who owned the money in the account.  Maybe it was your money.  Maybe it was his money.  Maybe it was his money but he'd given it to you by putting it in your account.

 

According to  https://www.testament-erben.de/kann-eine-rente-vererbt-werden.html  you can not inherit the pension from the rentenkasse.  If he also had private pension, you would have to look into that.

 

 

 

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Thanks everyone for this good info.

 

@HEM I'm not planning to ask my in-laws if they want money from me. But I will ask the German Consulate whether German or Canadian inheritance rules apply to my husband's death for our joint-assets in Germany. I've bookmarked Panda's website and will contact her soon.

 

@fraufruit This is what makes sense to me, and AFAIK that's the case in Canada. 

 

@LeonG Thanks for the links. It is shocking to me that his parents could be entitled to 25% of my assets. The money is both mine and my late husband's. We worked together to build up and didn't sign a pre-nup because we each contributed roughly 50%, but it was me who invested and grew the money. 

 

@jeba I will look into this!

 

 

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13 minutes ago, LeonG said:

 

Yes, looks like it, see  https://www.finanztip.de/witwenrente/   You'd have to apply for it.  You could get something like 25 or 55% of his pension depending on your situation.

 Thank you so much @LeonG!!!!  

 

Just read through a bit and I'm in my 30's with no children. I guess I may be able to qualify for the small pension closer to 25%. 

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4 hours ago, Yessica said:

The money is stored both in Canada and Germany, all in joint accounts with me and him.

 

I think I have a handle on the Canadian side, so my question is specifically about the German rules and accounts.

 

My husband died in Canada and we were resident in Canada the last 2 years, in case that makes a difference.

 

Sorry, but if your husband left Germany less than 5 years ago, his entire worldwide estate is subject to German inheritance taxation, because of §2 (1) Nr. 1 b ErbStG: https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/erbstg_1974/__2.html

 

Which doesn't necessarily mean that you will owe any German inheritance tax, since there is a tax-free amount of 500,000€ if you inherit from a spouse, see §16 (1) Nr. 1 ErbStG: https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/erbstg_1974/__16.html

 

And a piece of good news: since these are joint accounts, half of them is already yours. So we are only talking about the other half: https://www.haufe.de/finance/finance-office-professional/erbschaftsteuer-gemeinschaftskonten-einzelkonten-24-erbschaftsteuerliche-probleme-bei-gemeinschaftskonten_idesk_PI11525_HI2956209.html

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54 minutes ago, Yessica said:

 Thank you so much @LeonG!!!!  

 

Just read through a bit and I'm in my 30's with no children. I guess I may be able to qualify for the small pension closer to 25%. 

 

Yes, in that case I also think you will qualify for the smaller amount but it also says once you start getting it, when you reach the required age, you will automatically start getting the higher amount.

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Another aspect of widow´s pension is that it may come with public health and nursing care insurance. Not sure though if that applies to your situation. If it does and if you´re not residing in Germany you could waive that claim for a slightly higher payout. Or you could use it in other EU countries as well.

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