German-Irish Inheritance Case

Currently, we are assisting a widower from Ireland who is challenged with winding up real property in Germany that he has inherited from his deceased wife.  His wife has made a Will under Irish law, which was written with a computer in English language, signed by her and witnessed by two witnesses.  The estate contains some apartments in Germany.  In the Will there is no disposition about the part of the estate that is situated in Germany.  The testatrix was having her habitual residence in Ireland, so Irish inheritance law is applicable from the German point of view, even regarding German real property that belongs to the estate.  And German law requires a Will to be either notarized by a German notary or consul, or handwritten by the testator.  For changing the ownership in the German Land Registry (‘Grundbuch’), you will usually need to produce a Certificate of Inheritance issued by a German Probate Court, or a European Certificate of Succession.  We have already convinced the Probate Judge that according to the 1961 HCCH Form of Wills Convention, which is applicable to German-Irish cases, German law accepts Irish Wills, even if they do not meet German requirements about the form how a Will is made.  We also needed to tell the Court who would be the heirs in case of intestacy, so we, being German solicitors, had to research some details about Irish inheritance law.  The Court in charge has not had experience with Irish law before, which made it essential for the widower to have a solicitor who is licensed in Germany and who also knows the Irish law to process such an unusual case.


Anwaltskanzlei Stefan Mannheim • Filderhauptstraße 20 • 70599 Stuttgart • Germany • Phone +49 (711) 230 6800 • E-Mail