The EU inheritance law was decided as early as 2012, the EU member states had to implement three years an appropriate regulation in their respective national law. Now since 17 August 2015, also valid in Germany. This has implications for most EU countries citizens in many cases.
EU inheritance law
What does the new EU inheritance law for German consumers? Who is affected by the changes? According to the previous law was the inheritance of the country whose citizen the testator. If the deceased was a German, the right of inheritance of the German state was applied. Now the principle of habitual residence shall apply. Lives a German abroad, it must be expected that the law of the country will be applied in succession, in which he lives. Retirees who spend the twilight years on Mallorca, the elderly, which are housed in foreign nursing homes or younger who live and work abroad are affected.
The EU inheritance law applies to people who live in the countries of the EU, with the exception of Ireland, the UK and Denmark. It is also valid if you have a residence outside of Europe. Important is the habitual residence, so that you permanently resident in the country. How long have you lived in a country that is not always important. Whoever dies on holiday abroad, is not affected by it, even if he has months detained in the country. Conversely, a German who travels for the purpose of taking up employment in the United States, on the first day under the US inheritance law.
Possible consequences for the bereaved
The right of inheritance is regulated differently in the individual States. Especially so-called Berlin Wills and duty sub-schemes may be superseded by the EU legal heritage. Generally it is possible that passages in wills are not valid because it does not give appropriate regulations in the country where the deceased lived.
Problems also occur when you make your Will. In many countries, spouses inherit not in principle, you can use more than a usufruct on a property for. While under German law partner in the legal succession inherits half of a fortune, he would get nothing if the inheritance falls under EU law inheritance under the laws of these countries. What consequences the EU inheritance law has exactly for you depends on the country in which the testator has his habitual residence. The Berliner Testament, where the spouse inherits everything initially, is almost always affected, there's this special scheme in almost any other state.
Possible measures to prevent the consequences
Existing wills subject despite the EU inheritance law a continuance, but at a Prenuptial Agreements addition is needed to explain in which both partners, that German law is in charge of the estate. The addition must be done by hand handwritten and contain information on the place and date, and both signatures. Such an addition is recommended for all wills.
In general, all Germans have the possibility via a will to have that in the event of her death comes the German inheritance apply. Under EU law, this also applies to the inheritance assets located abroad. Before now rashly care by a testament that your wealth is inherited according to German law, you should consult with a notary who knows the laws of the host country. It may be that they are more favorable. One advantage the EU inheritance law in any case. Disputes which inheritance is to be applied, it no longer exists. There is now legal clarity, for whom the law applies. In addition, a European Certificate of Succession is provided with which the heirs can prove their legal status.