Making a last will and testament

72 posts in this topic

3 hours ago, kthxcia said:

 

that's very interesting. I presume the Heirs in this case would have to be over 18?

Probably. I only know that I was.

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On 7/15/2013, 7:01:39, jeba said:

 

It has to be hand-witten, otherwise it would be invalid according to German law. Whether German law applies to British citizens is another question - don't know. However, you can deposit your will at the local court to avoid that somebody disposes of it.

Could you advise if I live in Rheinland-Pfalz state (near to Mainz), which local court can I go to deposit my hand-written will?  Could you help to advise which website or link that I can refer to?  Or can I also deposit in a local court in Frankfurt?  Roughly how much does it takes and must it be done by a lawyer or I can also do it myself?

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58 minutes ago, Uniquely F said:

Could you advise if I live in Rheinland-Pfalz state (near to Mainz), which local court can I go to deposit my hand-written will?  Could you help to advise which website or link that I can refer to?  Or can I also deposit in a local court in Frankfurt?  Roughly how much does it takes and must it be done by a lawyer or I can also do it myself?

I only remember the rules in Bavaria where it´s the local "Amtsgericht" of the district in which you´re resident which is in charge and there is a small fee (below € 100). You don´t need a lawyer. If in doubt just give your local Amtsgericht a call.

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My wife and I are in the process of doing this now. Now like most people should have done this a long time ago.

we have written our wills (hat tip Panda Munich) and will file them with the local court,


Anyways  single friend mentioned setting up a Nachlassverwalter instead of a will. My understanding is that this is an executor who will settle your estate after your death. 

So this brings up a question to which I haven't been able to find an answer to. We are childless and no family here. Since German wills (or we die intestate) don't have executor who settles the estate? House will need to be sold, Contracts cancelled and taxes filled and eventually money transferred. There is no way anyone in my family would have even a clue where to even begin. This is the reason I want to use an Nachlassverwalter.


 

Thanks in advance

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7 hours ago, Rushrush said:

Since German wills (or we die intestate) don't have executor who settles the estate

They may or may not. It´s up to you.

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10 hours ago, Rushrush said:

There is no way anyone in my family would have even a clue where to even begin. This is the reason I want to use an Nachlassverwalter.

 

The German term for executor is "Testamentsvollstrecker".

 

A "Nachlaßverwalter" is what in the Anglo-Saxon world is commonly referred to as a "conservator", an individual appointed by a local court to collect and safeguard the property of a decedent whose heirs are undetermined or cannot be located until those heirs can be determined, located and contacted.

 

 

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8 hours ago, Straightpoop said:

 

The German term for executor is "Testamentsvollstrecker".

 

A "Nachlaßverwalter" is what in the Anglo-Saxon world is commonly referred to as a "conservator", an individual appointed by a local court to collect and safeguard the property of a decedent whose heirs are undetermined or cannot be located until those heirs can be determined, located and contacted.

 

 

Thank you that helps immensely!

 

I talked to my steuerbreater and I can set him up as a Testamentsvollstrecker (?) he he will take care of the estate I just haven't gotten around to it. In the meantime I gathering everything together (contracts assets etc)  and passing it on to my family along with this form. Obviously having a will is ideal but a nust in case. 

 

https://www.germany.info/blob/929670/0ae9beaf48badab5d626bd5f679cc019/inheritance-estate-questionaire-data.pdf

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@Rushrush

 

Be careful.  If you neither of you have children and/or a parent still living at death and you have no will, all your property located in Germany - and probably worldwide - will be inherited by the survivor of you by intestate succession.  All the survivor has to do is petition the local Nachlaßgericht for an Erbschein (certificate of inheritance) to take complete control of your property.  No need for a testamentvollstrecker; at least not after the first-to-die stage.

 

When the second to die departs this veil of tears, then a testamentsvollstrecker will make sense; especially if the survivor intends their estate to be shared by more than one person.

 

Moreover, if you have significant financial assets or other property located outside of Germany you would be well-advised to consider having two wills:  a German one governing your German assets and a US one for the US assets. Better yet:  US will substitutes discussed next.

 

A local US will can eliminate the need to "domesticate" your German will by seeking "ancillary probate" in the US.  Depending on the state and the assets involved, your German executor may or may not be able to act in that state which means the appointment of a local (usually expensive) US executor.

 

But before wrestling with US wills to govern the fate of assets after the second of you dies, the two of you should first consider will/probate alternatives especially with respect to US assets.  These might include joint tenancies with right of survivorship, transfer on death (TOD) arrangements, etc.  This will eliminate the sometimes outrageous costs of going through a US probate proceeding. And don't even think for a moment that a German Erbschein is going to be honored without first appointing a local "personal representative"  who will be entitled to help himself to a chunk of whatever is located in that jurisdiction.

 

The survivor can also use these US will substitutes to govern the ultimate destination of assets located in the US.

 

These substitutes have their quirks; advantages and disadvantages but especially if the assets are relatively small potatoes you will be doing yourselves and/or your heirs a great favor by considering their use.

 

Dual wills should specifically reference each other, clearly state their limited scope and must be drafted with care so that they do not contain words that might be interpreted as revoking the earlier one.

 

There are vast resources of a general information nature covering this subject freely available on the internet. 

 

Take the time to inform yourselves.

 

Don't rush.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Fietsrad said:

Who gets my wealth if I have no relatives?

 

They may be very many degrees distant from you and you may have no clue who they are but you have relatives.

 

In Germany if you die intestate with no known heirs a Nachlaßverwalter will be appointed to research your ancestry and - frequently with the assistance of commercial heir location services or genealogical researchers - discover who your relatives are and contact them. I have seen Nachlaßverwalters go to extraordinary lengths to find distant relatives; sometimes all over the world.

 

These will be what are referred to in the profession as "laughing heirs"; relatives who are complete strangers and won't miss you but are delighted to receive your assets.

 

In the US efforts to find heirs are generally not taken as seriously as in Germany so that after a search proves futile, property of the decedent will be held on deposit with a state's unclaimed asset repository and if unclaimed after whatever statutory period has elapsed - typically 7 years - will escheat to the state.

 

But let's not forget:  ultimately we are all related.

 

 

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Update: downloaded Questionnaire for the application for an inheritance certificate. It can be found online and filled in the name and current address of our family along with a basic list of assets, insurances and any accounts (banks, phone etc) that we have. Sent it to my sister in law and said, should we be killed in car crash than this is the form you use. By the time you pay fees, taxes and split everything 9 ways there will be very little to fight over. This is a much cheaper solution than paying a lawyer.

 

Secondly we did a hand written will and will eventually registrar it at city hall.

 

The reason for this is that I'm assuming that life will play out the same way for us as it did our parents. Once we hit 85 or so I will liquidate all our assets (including primary residence) and pass the money along. Won't need much to live on, pensions will be sufficient. Not too worried about cancelling everything. Actually read about one guy who died and the LL didn't find out for 3 years!!!!

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