Inheritance and Debts - Declining an Inheritance in Berlin Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf

Dr. Markus Wessel

Inheritance and Debts: What You Can Do with an Indebted Estate

When an heir steps into the shoes of the deceased testator, they assume all assets, debts, and claims that existed at the time of death. This transfer occurs retroactively to the time of the inheritance. In some cases, the heir may inherit more debts or claims than they can settle from the estate. In such situations, the heir is also liable with their personal assets.

When can an inheritance be renounced?

The discovery of an indebted estate is not uncommon, and the law provides heirs with means to avoid unlimited or even any liability.

The first task is to determine the extent of the estate. Bank statements should be checked, and information should be obtained from banks and insurance companies. Through an optional public notice procedure at the probate court, creditors can be asked to disclose any claims against the deceased. It is important to note that heirs usually have a period of six weeks to renounce the inheritance.

Can accepting the inheritance be challenged?

Under certain circumstances, it is possible to challenge the acceptance of the inheritance at the probate court. If the probate court accepts the challenge, the heir will be relieved of their liability.

What if acceptance has not been challenged?

If the inheritance has already been accepted and it is later discovered that the debts may exceed the value of the estate, there are ways to limit liability to the estate. The legal institution of estate administration allows for the estate to no longer be managed independently but to retain what remains after settling all creditors. In cases where the estate is insufficient to settle the debts, an estate insolvency procedure may be considered to avoid the personal liability of the heir.

Additionally, formal estate inventories can be created, assuming that no further estate assets exist other than those listed in the inventory. Creditors must also accept this.

What is a plea of insufficiency?

If it turns out after accepting the inheritance that the estate is insufficient to cover the costs of estate administration or an estate insolvency procedure, the heir can invoke the plea of insufficiency. This allows them to refuse to fulfill claims that could only be met using their private assets.

Can a compulsory heir or beneficiary renounce the inheritance?

An heir can simultaneously be a compulsory heir or beneficiary. Renouncing the inheritance does not affect these claims. If there are compulsory portion or testamentary claims against the heir, it should be examined whether the heir must fulfill these claims, especially if they themselves are entitled to the compulsory portion. Fulfillment may be refused under certain circumstances if it would jeopardize their own compulsory portion.

Complex legal requirements - I offer competent advice on legal consequences

In the aforementioned steps, it is crucial to carefully observe the formal and temporal requirements of the law in order to achieve the desired legal results. I am happy to provide personal advice. Please contact me to schedule an appointment.

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