Inheritance Matters: Estate in Germany
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In Germany, the heir proves his/her legal right by a Certificate of Inheritance which is issued by the competent German probate court upon notarized application. It is normally required by banks or land register if the inheritance includes real estate or bank account(s) in Germany.
To obtain a Certificate of Inheritance, you have to fill out the questionnaire, which can be found below and send it with the required copies of the documents (as indicated on the questionnaire) to the German Consulate in Toronto.
We will make a draft of your application and call you in order to make an appointment for the required affidavit and notarization. We might also request more documents in some cases. This can take up to 3 months from the time that all the requested documents are in order. Please note that there will be a fee for the affidavit and the notarization. The application and the certified (and if not issued by a German authority: legalised and translated) documents can then be sent to the competent probate court in Germany. There will be an additional fee for the actual Certificate of Inheritance.
How to obtain a Certificate of Inheritance
1. The applicant has to provide all information necessary in advance, to enable the German Consulate Toronto to draft a formal application. Therefore, please use the prepared questionnaire. We recommend that you enclose copies of all documents proving the right to inherit (e. g. last will, letters testamentary, death certificates, birth certificates, marriage certificates etc.)
2. We will prepare the application document and contact the applicant as soon as the application is drafted to set up an appointment for the applicant to appear at the German Consulate Toronto and to sign the document in due form. This can take up to 3 months from the time that all the requested documents are in order. As German is the official language in Germany, the text of the application will be put forward only in German. If the applicant does not understand German, the consular agent will explain the contents of the paper to the applicant and translate it orally. If he/she wants to have an English translation of the application, the applicant will be responsible for all costs incurred by a translation. We recommend that the applicant shows all the original documents of which copies were provided with the questionnaire during this appointment. We will notarize the copies, so the Nachlassgericht in Germany receives a complete application with the pertinent documents enclosed.
3. The applicant will receive the original and a first certified copy of the application. The original should be sent to the competent probate court ("Nachlassgericht") or the applicant's representative in Germany who will then forward it to the probate court ("Nachlassgericht"). A certified copy is kept on file by the German Consulate Toronto.
4. After having received the application, the probate court ("Nachlassgericht") will issue the Certificate of Inheritance and forward it to the person named as recipient in the application.
In the course of the application, two fees will apply:
The German Consulate Toronto will charge a fee for the preparation of the application including the affidavit. The fee is payable in cash (equivalent in C$ according to the daily exchange rate) or by internationally accepted credit card (card will be charged in Euro, additional charges by the credit card company may apply).
Fees are based on the value of the estate. The applicant is required to provide detailed information about the value of the estate in Germany. (Please contact the land register ('Grundbuchamt') in Germany or your lawyer for further details of the value of real property.)
Declaration of Renouncement of Succession
According to German law the heirs can declare the renouncement of succession to the German probate court within six weeks after being informed about the case of succession. This period is extended to 6 months, if the deceased had his last residence abroad or if the heir is staying outside of Germany.
The signatures on the declaration will, as a minimum requirement of form, have to be certified (signature certification). Both parents (one if it is a case of sole custody) of minor children, have to declare the renouncement of succession on the children’s behalf. The declaration of renouncement may be executed before the consular officer at the competent German Mission or a honorary consul.
Please note: If you wish to declare the renouncement of succession at the German Consulate in Toronto or Vancouver, we kindly ask you to book an appointment through our online appointment booking system. For the renouncement of succession with one of our Honorary Consuls, please contact them directly for an appointment.
Your signature may also be certified by a Canadian Notary Public/ Notary. In this case, the document has to be legalized for use in Germany. You can find detailed information on the legalization process on the our website:
If you want to have your signature certified by a Canadian Notary Public/Notary, please confirm with the competent German probate court that the certification by a Canadian Notary Public/Notary will be acceptable.
Additional Information in Restitution Matters
In restitution cases, the certificate of inheritance will be issued by the probate court ("Nachlassgericht") free of charge. However, there is a fee for the notarization of the application at the German mission which is payable in cash (equivalent in C$ according to the daily exchange rate) or by internationally accepted credit card (card will be charged in Euro, additional charges by the credit card company may apply).
The Certificate of Inheritance will be issued by the probate court ("Nachlassgericht") free of charge only, if it is sent directly to the German office, dealing with the restitution claim (Landesamt/Amt zur Regelung offener Vermögensfragen, abbreviated: LAROV or AROV). A notarized copy of the certificate however, may be sent to a representative or to the applicant himself/herself.