There’s no room for friendship when money’s involved. The same can be said with respect to inheritances. Disputing over the estate can divide families. For this reason, the testator ought to arrange his estate clearly.
GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London - www.grprainer.com/en conclude: Inheriting and bequeathing will play a significant role in Germany going forward. Wirtschaftswoche reported on its website that around two to four billion euros will be passed on in the coming years in Germany. The reason for this is that the generation which became part of the economic miracle will in the foreseeable future be passing on the assets it has built up.
Of course, these assets are unevenly distributed, ranging from a few euros in a savings book, to a little terraced house, right up to a large business estate. In some cases, wrangling over the estate is inevitable. A great deal of money is at stake. And, as the old saying goes, there’s no room for friendship when money’s involved.
In order to prevent disputes arising among the heirs, the testator ought to precisely arrange his estate. If he fails to take measures while he is still alive, the rules of intestate succession apply automatically. Having regard to the statutory reserved portions, the testator can also opt to distribute his assets differently. It is best to express one’s final will in a testamentary will or a contract of inheritance.
The testamentary will presents the testator with the opportunity, bearing in mind the statutory regulations, to arrange the estate as he sees fit. Whereas the degree of kinship is a decisive factor in intestate succession, this can be changed by means of a will. Additionally, it is also possible to take into account persons or foundations which would not have a claim to the inheritance in the absence of a will. The more precisely the testator defines his final will, the less likely it is for a dispute to arise among the heirs.
The alternative to a testamentary will is a contract of inheritance. The latter allows similar arrangements to be made as in the case of the former. Having said that, there are a few differences. A contract of inheritance has to be notarised and there are always multiple parties involved in a contract of inheritance which contractually undertake reciprocal commitments. It is also not possible for a contract of inheritance to be altered unilaterally.
Those wishing to organise their estate at an early stage can turn to a lawyer who is competent in the field of succession law.