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German Law/Inheritance from Germany


My mom here in California inherited aprox. $165,000 from a cousin in Germany.  She received it in several wire transfers in the time span of 2 years as the cousin's estate was liquidated.  The last payment came in September 2012, a week later my mom died. Today (almost 8 months later)  I got mail from the German IRS and 3 years of tax forms to fill out.  My mom's estate has already been settled and all accounts closed, all assets distributed. What am I legally required to do? I don't speak German which makes this all the more difficult.

Every heir has to file a tax return to the German authorities. I do not know about US law but if the heir dies before having done this this obligation is passed to his/ her respective heirs. The failure to deliver a tax return can be prosecuted as a criminal offence. In the tax return, among others, the assets forming the estate and their value has to be indicated. The other co-heirs and banks can be useful source of information for this.  

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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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