You should not rely on a belief that the rules of settlement of a succession applicable in Germany are the same as those in other countries. This has been recently established by the Higher Regional Court of Schleswig in the decision of February 2, 2015, file No 3, further complaint within voluntary jurisdiction, case No 3 Wx 90/14.
An English woman received a letter from the Probate Court of Neumünster (Nachlassgericht Neumünster) informing her that she had fallen an heir. She wanted to thwart the possibility to become liable for any debts incurred by the deceased, so she wrote back to the Probate Court of Neumünster stating „I refute any liability to any costs or expenses incurred by Y.“ With this letter, she wanted to prevent that the liabilities of the German inheritance be transferred to her. Instead, her action was perceived as a violation of the German formal regulations. The Higher Regional Court of Schleswig found that the question, on the basis of which the statement of renouncement is issued, is not a question of form outlined in Art. 11, paragraph 1 of the Introductory Act to the German Civil Code (EGBGB), but a question of substance. Pursuant to this, the law that is applicable in this case is not the local law, i.e. English law, but the law of the country in which inheritance is located, in this case, Germany.
The statement of the renouncement of inheritance is issued in accordance with § 1945 (1), paragraph 1 of the German Civil Law regarding the probate law and following § 184 of the German code on court constitution.
Thus, should you be contacted by German courts, it is advisable to hire a German lawyer.
Your specialist attorney in inheritance from Heilbronn.
Dr. Andreas M. Kramp
Attorney-at-law and specialist in Inheritance Law