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German Law/Is German Inheritance Law enforceable in UK


QUESTION: I have received notification from German court stating I am the heir of a relatively Germany.   I only met this relative once 30 years ago.
The letter also states that I have 2 weeks from date of letter 7may2005)  to denounce my inheritance.  This I want to do.

Is German inheritance law enforceable in UK?

ANSWER: How enforceable a German court order is in the UK is ultimately a question of UK law, in which I am no expert. But generally, within the EU court orders are mutually recognized and enforced.

If you do wish to reject the inheritance, I therefore highly recommend doing so.

I am not sure how they come up with the 2 weeks though, because the statutory deadline in 1944 III BGB is 6 months. (See also no. 8 of my FAQ on German inheritance law: ) But there is really no reason to wait if you have made your decision. On the other hand, if you think that the inheritance might be financially beneficial, you can use the time to find out about exactly this aspect of the estate.

Andreas Moser

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QUESTION: Thank you Andreas for your quick response.  I received a letter previously advising me if the death.  I thought no more of it,being used to British Law, until I received a letter from the court giving deadline. time period obviously ran from date of first letter.  What is the quickest, cheapest way to disclaim this inheritance for myself and my family.  I reAd that a disclaimer can be recorded for the court, which removes the need for authentication if signature. Any advice is most welcome as time is limited.

The easiest way would be to fly to Germany, go to the estate court and sign the declaration there. With current flight ticket prices, this may even be the cheapest option, but that depends on where you live and where the court is located. You might have to take someone with you who speaks German, though.

If you want to decline the inheritance on behalf of your children, you will need a power of attorney if there is also a father with whom you share custody. Or he needs to come with you.

Alternatively, you may have your declaration notarized by a German Consulate in the UK, but it may take much longer to get an appointment there and then the paperwork still needs to be forwarded to Germany.

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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