Obtaining Funeral Costs from a Deceased Person's Estate

33 posts in this topic

On 10/07/2021, 05:59:07, jeba said:

Are you having a problem getting a refund from the heirs? If so, the inheritance court won´t be able to help you. Then you´d have to sue them.

 

Thanks for the update. "Interesting" situation.

 

It looks like you may have to pay Chelski's lawyer to apply pressure on the guardian to stump up. You could try first writing to the guardian and setting a deadline for payment, informing them that if they do not release funds to you for the funeral by such a date, you will take legal action.

 

(A cultural tip: It is important to send mail by registered letter in Germany, as some people may be bare-faced about lying when they receive letters they do not welcome. They just say they never got it. Yes, really. :angry:)

 

Edit: Jeba got there first :lol:

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7 hours ago, jeba said:

Do you know already that he will not reimburse you?

No, I understand that the probate court has not completed it's proceedings. Yet, I have no idea when the heir's guardian will be in a position to instruct payment to me for the funeral costs. Would you know how I can check the status of case? For anyone who knows how long these take it has been a year since the person has died. Should probate be lasting this long?

 

7 hours ago, optimista said:

You could try first writing to the guardian and setting a deadline for payment

The guardian is courteous enough and I trust that they do not yet have the power to instruct payment. Still, I am not against sending a registered letter demanding payment. I just don't want to get on the bad side of them just yet.

 

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20 minutes ago, Stuart O said:

No, I understand that the probate court has not completed it's proceedings.

I´m not sure whether this is necessary for costs which are obviously to be charged to the estate. The bank may be allowed to pay them (if instructed to do so) without an "Erbschein". After all, (I think) the court is only in charge to establish who will be the heirs, not what bills they have to pay or not pay. But this doesn´t matter for such costs as no matter who will inherit, those costs need to be paid. Maybe asking the bank would be a cheap option to find out.

 

26 minutes ago, Stuart O said:

For anyone who knows how long these take it has been a year since the person has died. Should probate be lasting this long?

It could last much longer because this to a large part is beyond their control. Imagine e.g. there are heirs abroad they don´t have contact details of. These investigations may take years. When my mom had died and I moaned about how long everything took, I was told by the caseworker that she was being working on another case for more than 3 years already. Potential heirs have much more generous deadlines than resident ones, which is part of the reason why there may be long delays.

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Another related question would be, if I make a claim of the inheritance as a distant relative will I be responsible for any debt of the deceased person?

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Just now, Stuart O said:

Another related question would be, if I make a claim of the inheritance as a distant relative will I be responsible for any debt of the deceased person?

Not unless you´re found to actually be an heir.

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1 minute ago, jeba said:

Not unless you´re found to actually be an heir.

Well, I will stay away from that. I only thought that if I were an heir I could instruct the probate court to make the funeral costs payment to myself. Seeing as I'd be culpable for other costs I will resign myself to badgering the guardian of the only heir to instruct the funeral costs payment as soon as possible.

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OP did mention that the Heir wanted only to cover basic funeral costs.

They could argue that the extra costs covered by OP were  the  decision of OP and not authorised by the heir?

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17 minutes ago, RedMidge said:

OP did mention that the Heir wanted only to cover basic funeral costs.

They could argue that the extra costs covered by OP were  the  decision of OP and not authorised by the heir?

 

I would argue the heir could have stopped the OP from burying the deceased, and done it his own (cheap ass) way.
In other words, just present the heir with the bill - he is bound by German law to handle funeral costs. Don't even discuss the price difference, and don't give the heir any ideas.

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@Stuart O

 

Here is the German law with commentary that governs your claim to reimbursement of funeral costs:

 

https://bgb.kommentar.de/Buch-5/Abschnitt-2/Titel-2/Untertitel-1/Beerdigungskosten?search=1968

 

Note that other than a determination of the decedent's heirs - which determines who has the responsibility to reimburse you - the German court has no role to play in this matter, i.e. no knowledge much less power to dispose of the decedent's assets and liabilities.

 

If you are the only heir, you will eat the costs but will own the decedent's assets - less the value of the decedent's liabilities.

 

If you are one of several heirs, then you will share the decedent's assets and liabilities with your fellow heirs and may seek pro rata reimbursement from them for their share of your costs.

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On 18/10/2021, 05:26:39, Straightpoop said:

Here is the German law with commentary that governs your claim to reimbursement of funeral costs:

 

https://bgb.kommentar.de/Buch-5/Abschnitt-2/Titel-2/Untertitel-1/Beerdigungskosten?search=1968

 

@StraightpoopI want to say a massive thanks for this. Having the law to reference is a great help.

 

As is, I am now in good contact with the only heir in the process (guardian to the deceased person's son) and with them accepting that the funeral costs need to be paid as soon as they have the inheritance certificate, I'll resign myself to wait out the probate court to do it's thing.

 

I would only have one last question. I have been noted as a distant relative and been given the opportunity to claim inheritance. I know that the deceased person's estate is actually just large enough to pay the funeral costs, but I also know that the estate is indebted. Would me claiming inheritance somehow mean that I take on this estate's debts personally? I only ever wanted to retrieve the costs for the funeral.

 

Big thanks to everyone here,

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1 hour ago, Stuart O said:

Would me claiming inheritance somehow mean that I take on this estate's debts personally? I

 

Yes, absolutely it would!

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On 10/24/2021, 7:05:33, Stuart O said:

Would me claiming inheritance somehow mean that I take on this estate's debts personally?

 

Yep.

 

Please note:  You do not CLAIM a German inheritance.  If you are named as a co-heir on the Erbschein you will share in the decedent's liabilities and there is an assumption in Germany that you ACCEPT the inheritance - regardless of whether you or someone else has applied for the Erbschein.  Unless it is already too late, you can avoid this result only by a timely disclaimer (Ausschlag) or by applying for "Verwaltung" - essentially a means to limit your liability to the value of the decedent's assets, if any.

 

Read all about it here:

 

https://www.verbraucherzentrale.de/wissen/geld-versicherungen/kredit-schulden-insolvenz/erbe-ausschlagen-das-muessen-sie-wissen-32411

 

 

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