Joint Heirs Community in Berlin Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf

Dr. Markus Wessel

Joint Heirs: Rights and Responsibilities of Co-Heirs in Berlin Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf

A longtime client of the law firm often responds to the colorful depiction of particularly harmonious family relationships with: "Have you inherited together yet?".

Joint Heirs: Maintaining Harmony and Making Wise Decisions.

A joint heirs community arises when the deceased leaves behind more than one heir, regardless of whether this occurs due to a will or statutory succession. In this case, no shares of inheritance are created, but rather a community of joint ownership is formed, in which each heir jointly owns all estate assets with their co-heirs.

Joint Heirs: Making Joint Decisions

One of the main causes of conflicts in joint heirs communities is that all decisions that could reduce the estate must be made unanimously. Majority decisions are only possible within the framework of proper administration. The first question that often leads to differences of opinion is therefore whether it is an administrative matter (majority decision) or a disposal matter (unanimity). Case law is not always clear in this regard either.

Joint Heirs: Dissolution through Division of the Estate

The division of shares can only be achieved through a division of the estate, which can be achieved in two ways: through the consensual or non-consensual route.

  1. Division of the Estate: Consensual Route
    • consensual agreement can be reached through a settlement agreement between the heirs or through the notarial mediation procedure.
  1. Division of the Estate: Non-Consensual Route
    • The non-consensual route often involves filing a partition action.

Avoiding Estate Divisions through Clever Wills

A testator can prevent the division of the estate for a certain period or until certain events occur through a corresponding provision in the will, for example, if they wish to preserve a family business. In such cases, it is also advisable to appoint an executor of the will who ensures that the division does not take place prematurely.

Joint Heirs: Executor of the Will to Facilitate the Division of the Estate

If an executor of the will has been appointed by the testator, it is their responsibility to carry out the division of the estate. The heirs cannot make their own agreements but must entrust the executor of the will with the implementation of the testator's provisions.

Joint Heirs: Mediation or Judicial Settlement?

If the heirs cannot reach an agreement, estate mediation can defuse the situation and reduce costs. Due to my many years of experience, I am happy to serve as a mediator, and in particularly emotionally charged cases, a psychotherapist can also be brought in for supportive assistance.

The last step in the division is the judicial route in the form of a partition action. In this case, the necessary consents of the co-heirs are replaced by a court judgment.

Joint Heirs with Real Estate Holdings

If the estate contains one or more indivisible items, such as real estate, this item must be sold first before its value can be divided. The sale can be consensual or confrontational, the latter through forced sale, which often leads to a sale below market value.

Examples of Estate Divisions

Let's say a testator leaves behind three daughters, each inheriting in equal parts. The estate consists of three apartments and three accounts. When the testator dies, each daughter does not receive one apartment and one account, but all apartments belong to all daughters just like all accounts. Therefore, one daughter cannot sell a apartment or dispose of an account alone. In principle, decisions can only be made jointly by all daughters as long as the joint heirs community exists.

If a daughter wants to dissolve the joint heirs community, she can apply for the division of the estate at any time. However, all existing estate liabilities must first be settled. Then, the remaining estate will be distributed among the co-heirs according to their shares of inheritance.

If you would like to schedule an appointment or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. I am at your disposal.

Joint Heirs in Berlin Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf - Schedule an appointment with Attorney Dr. Markus Wessel
(030) 985 12 411