Applying for a joint certificate of inheritance on the basis of a will
When a testator dies, he usually leaves not just one heir, but several. These enter the so-called community of heirs with inheritance. Only after the inheritance dispute has taken place is the estate divided among the individual heirs in accordance with the agreements made.
In principle, each individual co-heir can apply for a certificate of inheritance with which he can identify himself as a legal heir to third parties. However, if the community of heirs wants to act together and act vis-à-vis banks, insurers and the land registry, a joint certificate of inheritance is often required.
After you have applied for the certificate of inheritance, the district court checks the eligibility and issues the certificate of inheritance.
The locally competent district court.
This is either the district court in whose district the deceased had his/her last habitual residence or the district court in whose district the refuser has his/her habitual residence.
There are co-heirs and they would like to apply for a joint certificate of inheritance
Which documents are required?
- your identity card or passport,
- the death certificate of the deceased person (testator),
- the family record book for the documentation of kinship,
- information on whether there is a process for your inheritance law,
- the names and addresses of the co-heirs,
- Proof of the reason why certain persons who would actually inherit are no longer heirs, for example their death certificates, waivers of inheritance or declarations of renunciation of inheritance,
- if applicable, wills or contracts of inheritance,
- the matrimonial property regime (in the case of spouses) or the property regime (in the case of registered civil partnerships).
What are the fees?
- The fees for a certificate of inheritance are regulated in the Court and Notary Costs Act (GNotKG) and are based on the value of the estate after deduction of the debts.
- In addition to the fee for issuing a certificate of inheritance, there may be costs for affidavits and notary fees – plus the statutory value added tax.
What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?
The processing time depends on the complexity of the inheritance.
Applications / forms
Forms are not required.
Insofar as conflicting interests exist in the inheritance certificate proceedings before the probate court, the probate court may not issue the certificate of inheritance immediately. The district court issues an order in which it states that it considers the facts necessary to substantiate the application for a certificate of inheritance to be established.
In accordance with §§ 58, 63 FamFG, the parties then have the opportunity to appeal against this decision within a period of one month.
The certificate of inheritance is only issued if, after the expiry of the period of one month, no one has lodged an appeal against the decision of the probate court and the decision has thus become final.
In addition, according to § 59 FamFG, the person who could not convince the probate court with his arguments in the inheritance certificate proceedings and is thus impaired in his rights can lodge an appeal.
By applying for the certificate of inheritance, the inheritance is automatically deemed to have been accepted – an inheritance strike is then no longer possible.
Heirs can then only avert the inheritance by contesting the certificate of inheritance. For this, however, a reason for contestation must be proven. In principle, only the person who would benefit from a challenge may contest a certificate of inheritance. It is recommended to seek legal advice from a lawyer.
Sole inheritance certificates: These can only be challenged by sole heirs.
Partial certificates and joint certificates of inheritance: Every heir within the community of heirs is entitled to contest.
What else should I know?
The text was automatically translated based on the German content.
Technically approved by
Lower Saxony Ministry of Justice