Heirs and Non-heirs
The heir verifies their inheritance position, for example, against a bank with a certificate of inheritance issued by the district court. The notary is responsible for the application of certificate of heirship. This also applies in the event that you do not wish to accept the inheritance. With the help of a notary, you can also reject the inheritance.
Whom you want to appoint as your heir, is a very personal decision. The inheritance law guarantees that you have a wide range of flexibility in the configuration but, requires compliance with certain formalities, so that your “last will” is actually being recorded. With a last will and testament, you unilaterally determine who will become your heir. Of course, you are not bound to that: A testament can be changed at any time. You can define your last will and testament in the form of an inheritance contract that you conclude with the future heirs. Inheritance contracts are common between spouses, who then define one another as heirs in it. Unlike a testament, a contract of inheritance is, in principle, binding. It can only be changed with the approval of the other contract partners (ex: the spouse).
If neither testament nor inheritance contract was completed, then the legal succession shall be invoked. However, especially in the case of married couples, this often leads to undesirable results: The surviving spouse will inherit together with the children. If no children exist, then they inherit together with the in-laws. If, for example, a house is inherited, the surviving spouse cannot freely dispose of it (i.e. sell or burden it), even though this would have been the wish of the married couple.
Anyone who inherits something, must pay inheritance taxes on it. The amount of these taxes is determined on one hand, by the value of the inheritance, and on the other hand by the degree of kinship. Frequently, however, the inheritance tax can be avoided by transferring assets by way of an anticipated succession to the children during their lifetime. We, the notaries, can advise you about the configuration options and amount of tax exemptions available.