Disclaimer of inheritance: The disclaimer of inheritance is an important legal tool that heirs can use to renounce or disclaim their inheritance. An heir can disclaim his or her inheritance for a variety of reasons.

Table of contents

I. Disclaimer of inheritance Definition and grounds
II. How does the disclaimer of inheritance under the Civil Code work?
III. Dismissing the inheritance: What deadlines apply?
IV. Who bears the funeral costs – if the inheritance is disclaimed?
V. What are the costs of disclaiming an inheritance?
VI. What are the risks of disclaiming an inheritance?
VII. How can children initiate a disclaimer of inheritance?
VIII. How can you revoke a bequest on the basis of a mistake?
IX. How are disputes over the bequest of an inheritance dealt with in the Family Court?
X. When is a declaration of inheritance invalid?
XI. The bequest of an inheritance – answers to the most important questions

Defeat of an inheritance – definition and reasons

One of the most common reasons is that an heir does not have the financial means to pay inheritance taxes. Other explanations are that the inheritance is a bad business or involves more responsibility than expected.

Another possible explanation is that the heir may want to leave his inheritance to someone else. If the notice of inheritance is filed within the prescribed time frame, it usually becomes legally binding. These deadlines can range from a few weeks to several months, depending on the federal state.

The heir cannot disclaim and must transfer his or her inheritance to the next person in the line of succession as soon as the notice of inheritance is considered legally valid. It is important to know that once the notice of inheritance has been given, it cannot be withdrawn.

It is also important to note that the notice of inheritance is only legally valid if it is submitted correctly. The heir must expressly declare in writing to the testator or his or her lawyer that he or she wishes to renounce his or her inheritance.

The letter must also contain all the documents required for the inheritance to be legally valid. An inheritance is an important decision that should not be made hastily.

An heir should think long and hard about whether or not to renounce his or her inheritance. If the heir is unsure of what to do, he should speak to a lawyer who can steer him in the right direction.

How does the disclaimer of inheritance under the Civil Code work?

A person who is an heir or a compulsory heir can disclaim an inheritance or compulsory legacy under section 2273 of the Civil Code (BGB). The so-called disclaimer of inheritance enables the heir to disclaim the assets and obligations of the estate by refusing to accept the inheritance or the right to a compulsory share.

The disclaimer of the inheritance must be made in writing and communicated to the testator, executor, administrator or guardian of the estate. Six weeks after the death of the testator, the heir or beneficiary of the compulsory portion must declare the disclaimer of the inheritance within the statutory period. The notice of inheritance is invalid if it is not filed within this period.

A testamentary bequest cannot be prevented by the testator. However, if the testator stipulates in the will that an heir or mandatory heir must accept the inheritance or the mandatory share, the heir or mandatory heir must comply. The testator may name a new heir or compulsory heir or transfer the inheritance or compulsory inheritance to another person if the bequest is lawful.

Inheriting a legacy is a difficult process involving many different factors. If you are thinking of disclaiming an inheritance or a compulsory share, you should therefore talk to a lawyer beforehand.

Excluding the inheritance: What deadlines apply?

German inheritance law stipulates that heirs must notify beneficiaries within six weeks of learning of the inheritance. It should be noted, however, that the deadline may not necessarily be six weeks, depending on the federal state.

Therefore, it is important to speak with a local attorney to ensure that the notice of inheritance is filed in a timely manner.

Who bears the funeral costs – if the inheritance is disclaimed?

The person who leaves the inheritance often pays for the funeral. Someone who disclaims their inheritance has made a disclaimer of the inheritance.

In this case, the testator is considered to be deceased and the usual funeral expenses are owed. Thereafter, the heir is no longer obliged to pay for the funeral expenses.

What are the costs of probate?

There are no fixed costs for probate proceedings. The costs vary from case to case and according to the applicable local legislation. The heir may need to consult legal counsel to ensure that the probate is handled correctly.

It is also possible to instruct a lawyer to explain the costs associated with probate. Court and procedural fees may apply in certain circumstances, with prices varying by state or nation.

What are the risks of probate?

Inheritance in the form of a legacy carries some risks. The first thing to remember is that a bequest can only be made within a certain time window. If the deadline is not met, the bequest cannot be executed.

Another risk is that an heir who leaves a bequest may forego assets that later prove to be valuable. Furthermore, a bequest may have an impact on the heir’s tax obligations.

The heir may have to pay inheritance tax on both the inherited assets and the disclaimed portion of the inheritance. To reduce the risk of unforeseen tax costs, be sure to speak with a tax professional before disclaiming an inheritance.

How can children initiate a disclaimer of inheritance?

If a child wishes to contest his or her parents’ will or other testamentary disposition, he or she has the right to file an inheritance action. He or she must file an objection to his or her parents’ will or other testamentary disposition with the competent court in order to initiate probate proceedings.

To do so, they must meet a number of criteria set out in the relevant legal provisions of the country. These include that the objection must be filed within a certain period of time after the death of the parent.

In addition, the children must show how they are disadvantaged by the will or other testamentary disposition of the parent. In order to determine whether the requirements for a will contest are met and what steps need to be taken to initiate the process, it can often be beneficial to speak with a lawyer.

How can you revoke an inheritance due to a mistake?

Inadvertent bequests can arise due to mistake. In these cases, the heir has the option of refusing to accept the bequest. To do so, a formal application for disclaimer must be filed with the competent probate court.

As a rule, this must be done within six weeks of the discovery of the error. The heir and the probate court must usually submit a court clarification as proof of the error.

The application for disclaimer must set out the reasons for the error and the legal requirements for disclaiming the inheritance. The probate court decides on the legality of the disclaimer after the application for disclaimer has been filed. The original inheritance is revived if the disclaimer is granted.

How are disputes about inheritance rulings handled in the family court?

The Family Court handles inheritance matters with prudence and professionalism. In order to reach a decision, the court looks into the details and relies on the provisions of inheritance law.

In addition to carefully weighing the relevant evidence, the court also considers the interests of all parties. In some cases, the parties may also be assisted by a mediator to reach an amicable settlement. The family court will make every effort to reach a fair and equitable outcome.

When is a notice of inheritance ineffective?

If an inheritance is not declared within a certain period of time, it is invalid. According to § 2325 of the Civil Code of the Federal Republic of Germany, the declaration of inheritance must be made within one year after the testator or the beneficiary of the compulsory portion has become aware of it.

If the declaration of acceptance of inheritance is not made within this period, it is considered invalid.

Declaration of inheritance – most important questions answered

  • What is an inheritance bequest?

The legal term “legacy” refers to the act by which an heir renounces his or her inheritance.

  • When is a legacy permissible?

If the heir has renounced the inheritance after the death of the testator, a bequest can be pronounced.

  • What effects does a disclaimer of inheritance have?

The effect of a disclaimer of inheritance is that the heir is deprived of the right to the inheritance and all its components. In addition, the disclaimer of the inheritance may give rise to taxes or inheritance taxes.

  • Can an heir change his mind and accept the inheritance?

Yes, as long as the inheritance is received within a certain period of time after the death of the testator, an heir can change his or her mind about the inheritance.

  • Can an heir file a lawsuit to challenge the bequest he or she has made?

Yes, an heir has the right to challenge his or her bequest in court. However, the heir must prove that the decision to accept the legacy was made involuntarily or under duress.

  • Can heirs renounce part of their inheritance?

Yes, heirs can renounce part of their inheritance. However, if they renounce part of the inheritance, the surviving heirs receive the remaining amount.

  • Can heirs leave a legacy before the death of the testator?

No, heirs may not leave a legacy before the death of the deceased.

  • Can an heir undo a legacy after accepting the inheritance?

No, once an inheritance has been accepted, an heir cannot undo a legacy.

  • How can an heir revoke his or her consent to accept the inheritance?

By bringing an action against the testator and revoking the acceptance of the inheritance, an heir can decide not to accept the inheritance.

The decision to disclaim an inheritance is a serious one. You should seek advice from a qualified lawyer if you want to know more about your rights and obligations as an heir. Contact us now here to find out more about your legal position.