Contesting a Will in Germany
Contesting a Will in GermanyUpdated on Tuesday 17th August 2021
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There are several legal options through which a person can contest a will in Germany. As general rule, most of the wills are contested on the basis of the testator’s capacity to draw a testament. Our team of German lawyers can assist persons with legal advice, according to their specific situation.
Contesting a will under the basis of mental incapacity
Persons who are entitled to a share of the inheritance of a testator can contest the will if they have not been mentioned in the document; at the same time, they can contest the document if they haven’t received the minimum share to which they were entitled by the law. One of the basis through which this procedure can be performed is related to the mental capacity of the testator.
According to the provisions of the German Civil Law, a person who is considered to lack mental capacity is not allowed to draw a will. If he or she still performs the action, the will can’t be considered valid.
Some of the grounds related to this issue are represented by mental disorders, such as dementia or paranoia; our team of German attorneys can provide further details on how to contest a will.
General reasons to contest a will in Germany
The law prescribes numerous reasons to contest a will, a part of them referring to the capacity of the testator to perform this action, the validity of the document or the enforcement of the inheritance stipulations.
The most common ways to contest a will in Germany refer to:
• validity of the will – the document is not considered valid if there are irregularities referring to the way in which such act should be drafted;
• testamentary capacity – referring to the fact that the respective document may contain the wishes of the deceased person, but it is not a will, as prescribed by the local legislation;
• Inheritance Act – in the situation in which the document does not provide (even if it was written according to the testator’s wishes) the minimum requirements in terms of inheritance for specific members of the family, the document can be contested under the provisions of the inheritance law.
Inheritance in Germany
The testament is recognized by the Civil Law in Germany as the document through which a person’s properties can be divided between his/her heirs, according to the will of the deceased person. If someone has properties in Germany, he/she may include in the will statements regarding how the assets to be distributed after his/her death. The specific German legislation concerning inheritance can be explained to you by one of our German lawyers who can assist you as well with the elaboration of this document.
According to the German legislation, there are several types of will which can be elaborated in this country. For example, if a person is married, he/she may choose to elaborate a joint will or a mutual will, which is a testament of both spouses. A will in Germany can represent as well two people who are not husband and wife, but who share some assets. Another version is to elaborate a contract of inheritance which imposes certain conditions on the heirs and on the final purpose of the inheritance.
In order to be recognized by the authorities and to be an official document, a will needs to verify certain conditions. First of all the testament needs to be notarized, otherwise it is not valid. One of our attorneys in Germany can help you write your will in compliance with the inheritance law in this country and to confer legal validity to the document.
Facts concerning the testament in Germany
The procedure of inheritance in Germany comes together with the payment of the inheritance tax. Depending on the value of the properties, the heir might be exempt for the payment of the inheritance tax, or might be required to pay a different tax rate. This rate is also variable depending on the family relationship which exists between the deceased and the inheritor. For example the tax-free allowance for a spouse is of 500.000 euros, when for parents is of 100.000 euros.
If due to a donation, some heirs are deprived of their inheritance rights mentioned in a will in Germany, they can decide to contest the distribution of the assets. In certain conditions, wills can be contested in Germany, if there is a suspicion concerning the validity of the testament.
Feel free to contact our law firm in Germany to find out more information concerning the will elaboration in this country. Persons who need further information on the way in which a will can be contested in Germany can address to our German law firm for assistance.