Testamentary disposition

The testamentary disposition allows the testator to change or cancel the legal succession in whole or in part. In this case, the testator’s will takes precedence over the legal succession. However, only certain dispositions are permitted that are regulated by law. In order to prevent later disputes, it is important to pay attention to formal requirements and clarify the content in the inheritance.

The testator has the following options to make a last will and testamentary disposition:

Berlin Testament

The Berlin will is a special type of will for married couples, married couples or registered partners. It enables the spouses to appoint each other as sole heirs or sole heirs and to exclude other relatives from the succession for the time being. If one of the two spouses dies, their assets are transferred to the surviving spouse or surviving dependant. The aim is to provide financial security for the remaining spouse. The assets are only transferred to the final heir when the second spouse dies.

There may be problems and risks due to the complexity of the Berlin Testament under inheritance law. For example, inheritance cases with a foreign connection could present issues since some countries do not recognize joint wills . In this case, there is a risk that the Berlin Testament could become invalid in such a case. Furthermore, there is a strong binding effect or a more difficult right of revocation. The spouses can only change the Berlin Testament together. This type of also presents a weakness with regard to inheritance tax, as tax would be due twice: when the estate is transferred to the sole heir or sole heirs and when it is transferred to the final heir or final heirs. It should be carefully considered in advance whether this type of will is an advantageous alternative.

Last Will and Testament

By drafting a will, it is possible to prevent the legal succession with its fixed inheritance quotas from taking effect. The testator is thus given the opportunity to arrange the succession himself or herself or even to disinherit certain persons. The will can be drawn up either by hand or by notary. In the case of a handwritten will, every word must be written by the testator’s own hand. Dictating to another person or a machine-made will is therefore not valid. Place, date and signature must be on the will in order to avoid possible invalidity or family disputes and ambiguities. The decree should be written as clearly and conscisely as possible. If it is not possible to draw up a handwritten will, a notary will be required.

The notarial will can be handed over either by declaration to the notary or by handing over an open as well as a closed document to the notary. In the case of a verbal declaration to the civil law notary, the notary is obliged to establish the will of the testator and to inform him of his intentions.There will be a a fee for this. As a rule, an individual will is drawn up. Married couples, however, have the possibility to draw up a joint will according to German inheritance law (Berlin Testament).

Persons from the age of 16 who are mentally capable of understanding the meaning of a declaration of intent and acting on this understanding are eligible to make a will. Unlike an inheritance contract, an individual will can be revoked at any time.

Inheritance contract

In certain constellations, the inheritance contract can be an alternative to a will. The inheritance contract is also a last will and testamentary disposition and is binding. In contrast to the will, the inheritance contract is irrevocable. Therefore, if you want to be binding with regard to the succession and are sure that no more changes are to be made, it is better to have an inheritance cntract. Unlike a will, an inheritance contract is not declared unilaterally by the testator. The participation of at least two parties is required. Both the testator and the heirs must attend the notarization of the inheritance contract in person and sign it. All parties are therefore consulted at an early stage and must accept the regulations. Since the inheritance contract can only be drawn up with the help of a notary, there will be a fee.

Withdrawal from the inheritance contract is only possible with prior arrangement. Changes can also be made if there is an agreement among all parties invovled. Furthermore, a contract of inheritance does not prevent claims to a compulsory portion.