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German Law/Finding a Will and entitlements


A few months ago my father passed away, he had lived in Germany for around 20years and remarried a Germany lady. I have always lived in the uk but when I was young we would visit each other and have family holidays. As I grew up our relationship broke down and we didn't speak. I was devestated to discover he was unwell and rushed to his beside in Germany.
I have tried speaking with his wife but she does not return my calls or letters.
I do not know if there is a will, how I would find out or if I would be entitled to anything if there was never a will written up? Can you help advise?

Hello Carla,

you can find out if there was a will (at least if it has been properly handled by whoever found it) by contacting the probate court (Amtsgericht - Nachlassgericht) of the town/county seat where your father last lived.

The applicable law depends on your late father's citizenship. I am not sure if he had British or German or both citizenships.

Under German law it is extremely hard to disinherit children (and lack of contact is no sufficient reason), so you would be entitled to a share of the estate. The exact portion of your entitlement will depend on the potential will, a potential pre-nup between your late father and his surviving wife and on the number of other relatives, in particular your siblings.

For more on German inheritance law, please have a look at my FAQ on this subject:

If British law applies, then we would need to research that.

Once you have found out more of the facts, please feel free to contact me again.

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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