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German Law/Joint account now blocked


I am a Canadian citizen and my husband, German born but a Canadian for 60 years.  My husband died  in July 2012.  We have a joint account in a German bank where we kept travel money. Once I notified I the bank of my husband's death, sent death certificate and will, the accounts were blocked. What is normal waiting period.?  Transfer to surviving spouse in Canada is immediate.

Hello Joan,

I am very sorry to hear about your husband having passed away.

This is less of a legal question than a question of how this specific bank does business and what kind of paperwork was signed when you both set up the joint account.
Sometimes, the bank will close the joint account and set up a new account in your name and transfer the money to that new account. Sometimes, the bank will let you continue to use 50% of the money in the account until you can prove that you are the legal successor (heiress). Sometimes, they block the whole account until the bank receives official notification of who the heirs are.

Because you have already submitted the will (which I assume shows that you have inherited the bank account), I don't see how this could take almost half a year.
If you need any help in corresponding with the bank, I'll be happy to have a look at the correspondence that has happened so far and help you with getting the bank up to speed. My e-mail is

Andreas Moser

German Law

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Andreas Moser


Extensive experience in international family law, especially international child abductions and child custody cases. All other areas of German law as well: constitutional law, criminal law, business and contract law, immigration law, inheritance law, and so on.


Lawyer in Germany from 2002 to 2009. Lawyer for US Army JAG Corps before. Bar-certified specialisation in family law and in administrative law. Articles and lectures about international and domestic family law.


2000 Law Degree from University of Regensburg, Germany 2002 admitted to the bar (until 2009) 2013 MA Philosophy at the Open University, UK

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