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Apply for a community certificate of partial inheritance

When a testator dies, he usually leaves not only one heir, but several. These heirs become part of the so-called community of heirs at the time of inheritance. The estate is only divided among the individual heirs in accordance with the agreements made after the inheritance has been divided.

In principle, each individual co-heir can apply for a certificate of inheritance with which he or she can prove to third parties that he or she is the rightful heir. If, however, the community of heirs wishes to act jointly and to deal with banks, insurers and the land registry, a joint certificate of inheritance is often necessary.

The joint certificate of partial inheritance is issued for the inheritance rights of several, but not all, co-heirs at the request of a co-heir, for example if a co-heir has emigrated and is therefore unavailable.

Process flow

After you have applied for the certificate of inheritance, the local court checks the eligibility and issues the certificate of inheritance.

Competent authority

The local court with jurisdiction.

This is either the local court in whose district the deceased had his or her last habitual residence or the local court in whose district the disclaimant has his or her habitual residence.


There are co-heirs and they would like to apply for a joint certificate of inheritance. However, not all co-heirs are available to apply.

Which documents are required?

  • Your identity card or passport,
  • the death certificate of the deceased person (testator),
  • the family register to document your relationship,
  • information on whether there is a lawsuit concerning your inheritance,
  • names and addresses of co-heirs,
  • evidence of the reasons why certain persons who would actually inherit are no longer heirs, for example, their death certificates, letters testamentary or declarations of renunciation of inheritance,
  • if applicable, wills or inheritance contracts,
  • the matrimonial property regime (in the case of married couples) or the property status (in the case of registered civil partnerships).

What are the fees?

  • The fees for a certificate of inheritance are governed by the German Law on Court and Notarial Fees (Gerichts- und Notarkostengesetz, GNotKG) and are based on the value of the estate after deduction of debts.
  • In addition to the fee for the issue of a certificate of inheritance, costs for affidavits and notary fees may be incurred - plus statutory VAT.

What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?


Processing duration

The processing time depends on the complexity of the inheritance case.

Applications / forms

Forms are not required.



Insofar as there are conflicting interests in the inheritance certificate proceedings before the probate court, the probate court may not grant the inheritance certificate immediately. The Local Court issues an order in which it states that it considers the facts required to substantiate the application for a certificate of inheritance to have been established.

Pursuant to §§ 58, 63 FamFG, the parties then have the opportunity to appeal against this order within a period of one month.

The certificate of inheritance is only granted if, after the expiry of the one-month period, no one has lodged an appeal against the order of the probate court and the order has thus become final.

In addition, pursuant to § 59 FamFG, an appeal may be lodged by a person who has not been able to convince the probate court with his or her arguments in the inheritance certificate proceedings and whose rights are thereby impaired.


By applying for a certificate of inheritance, the inheritance is automatically deemed to have been accepted - it is then no longer possible to contest the inheritance.

Heirs can then only avoid the inheritance by contesting the certificate of inheritance. However, a reason for contesting the certificate of inheritance must be proven. In principle, only the person who would benefit from a contestation may contest a certificate of inheritance. It is recommended to seek legal advice from a lawyer in this regard.

Sole Inheritance Certificates: These can only be contested by sole heirs.

Partial and joint certificates of inheritance: Each heir within the community of heirs is entitled to contest a certificate of inheritance.

Technically approved by

Ministry of Justice of Lower Saxony


The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

Data protection information

Landesbeauftragte für den Datenschutz Niedersachsen
Address: Prinzenstraße 5, 30159 Hannover
Telephone: +49 511 12045-00
Fax: +49 511 12045-99

Source: Serviceportal Niedersachsen (Portalverbund des Bundes und der Länder)