German Law/Inheritance


Good day,

My brother passed away in Germany. He was married to a German Citizen.
My brother was not a German Citizen, he was South African.
The issue is this:
My brother and wife were married out of Community of Property in SA.
He planned to move back to South Africa in the next few years.
My brother's wife now has made a claim on his bank accounts (assets) etc as she has stated to the lawyer that he planned to stay in Germany.
Does this then make German law apply to his assets?
What about the marriage regime - why does this not apply?
If we can prove that he planned to move, would this make a difference?
Lastly,all the other assets are in his wife's name - why was this then not part of the entire inheritance?

I look forward to your reply.

Thank you kindly.

Dear MiaOK,

if your brother was a South African citizen according to international law South African law applies for his estate. German law would only apply for real estate he had in Germany at the time of his death.

You can contact me directly at and I would be glad to advise you in a personal consultation by phone.

Carolin Schulz-Burgess
German Attorney at Law/Foreign Legal Consultant

German Legal Services
306 South Walker Street
Columbia, SC 29205
Tel. +1 803 254-8153
Fax +1 803 753-9295  

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Carolin Schulz-Burgess


German legal issues on inheritance, divorce, alimony, child custody and support, last wills and testaments, and other problems involving international family and civil law.


I am a certified German laywer with professional experience in both German and American law firms. Since 2001 I have been working independently at my firm, German Legal Services. I have represented hundreds of clients on matters involving US-German legal issues. One of my firm's areas of specialization is in divorce and child support and custody issues between members of the U.S. Armed Forces and German civilians.

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I received my undergraduate and JD degrees both from the University of Wuerzburg, Germany, whose law school is consistently ranked in the top 10 in Germany.

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