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German Law/RVG Attorney Fees Inheritance


Dear Mr. Haarhaus,

I am considering taking action in Germany regarding an Inheritance matter.  I have found several on-line German RVG Fee calculators which have raised several related questions.

If I retain an Attorney under the RVG to represent me to contest the validity of a Last Will and Testament in the District court (Inheritance Court, I believe it is called a Nachlassgericht), in which all matters are handled by written correspondence and no Court appearance is required:

1) In computing Attorney RVG fees, would the value of the Estate depend on the inheritance share of the plaintiff, or would it depend on the full value of the estate?  

If so, what specific section of German Law states that?

For example, if the Total Estate is valued at 200,000 EUR, and there are 5 equal-share heirs, if one heir hired an Attorney under RVG to protect his 1/5th share, would the RVG fee be based on 40,000 EUR (1/5th) or on 200,000 EUR (Total Estate Value)?

2) I have heard that a certain percentage (anywhere from 5% to 20%) of the Value of the Estate (as determined in the answer to the question above) is then used to determine Attorney RVG Fees.

Is that the case?  And, if so, where specifically can one find those percentages, under German Law?  

What percentage would one use, and how would this percentage be determined?

Using the above-stated example where the Total Estate is valued at 200,000 EUR, and with 5 equal-share heirs, if one heir hired an Attorney under RVG, and if, for example, the RVG fee was based on 10% of the Estate Value (as determined in the answer to the question above, either 40,000 EUR or 200,000 EUR), would the Attorney RVG Fees be in that case be based on an Estate Value of either 4,000 EUR or 20,000 EUR (whichever the case may be)?

3) If the value of the Estate is unknown is there a minimum value of the Estate for the purposes of determining Attorney RVG Fees (of course, subject to change once the value of the Estate is determined)?  

I have read somewhere the value of 4,000 EUR mentioned, but I do not remember where I read that.   Is that amount correct?  

What if the Estate ends up being less than that amount?

4) What RVG Attorney Fees would be covered under RVG §13?

5) What RVG Attorney Fees would be covered under GKG §34?

6) What RVG Attorney Fees would be covered under VV 3100?

7) What RVG Attorney Fees would be covered for a “Geschäftsgebühr” (whatever that means) and under VV 2300?

Any information you can provide would be most useful in helping me decide whether or not to pursue this matter, and could also greatly benefit the other readers of this “German Law” section of



1. It depends on what the lawyer does for you. If raises your claim in court in a contentious proceeding the amount of your claim is the determinant. If a proceeding is intitated that affects the whole estate (such as the proceeding under the Family Court Proceeding Act) or if you fikle a law suit for the partition of the estate the whole estate is the basis for the calculation of the fees.
2. I do not understand. Maybe you mean law suits for a declaratory judgment?
3. No minimum value. 4.000 € is taken if the value of the matter is not definable at all.
4. All fees. It is the rate. In the VV you find the factors to be appied on the respective rate.
5. The GKG regulates the court fees and not the lawyer fees.
6. Factor to be applied on the correspondence for an in-court proceeding.
7. Factor for the lawyer`s service for activities out of court.  

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Henning Haarhaus


I can answer questions in English, German and French. Practice in inheritance law, tax, labour and contract law for private clients. Services also rendered in the fields of business & commercial law; e.g. business organizations, contracts, debt collections, leasing law. Representing clients all over Germany. NO CONSULTANCY ON FAMILY AND IMMIGRATION LAW.


Working since 1999 in the forenamed fields. Henning Haarhaus` experience includes services in the legal department of Roedl & partner, the biggest tax consultancy firm of German origin. Appointed Bar Certified Tax Law Practioner in 2007.

Bar Association of Berlin, KIWANIS


German licensed lawyer and bar certified tax specialist

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