GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte: Assessing claims to a compulsory portion
If close relatives of a testator are excluded from inheriting in a will or contract of inheritance, they are still entitled to their share of the statutory compulsory portion.
The rules of intestate succession regulate inheritance claims brought by the relatives of the testator. First and foremost, it is the spouse and the testator”s own children who inherit first. If the testator prepares a will or contract of inheritance, he is not bound by the rules of intestate succession. His testamentary freedom allows him to designate other heirs. Notwithstanding this, the close relatives who are entitled to inherit by law do not normally come away empty-handed under these circumstances either. They are entitled to a compulsory portion of the estate. We at the law firm GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte note that this generally amounts to half of the statutory share of the inheritance.
Thus, in order to determine the exact amount of the compulsory portion, one must first check what share those entitled to the compulsory portion would have in the estate under the rules of intestate succession. In calculating claims to the compulsory portion, it is equally important to assess the value of the estate. Those entitled to the compulsory portion are entitled to have the heir provide them with information pertaining to the value of the estate. Additionally, claims supplementing the compulsory portion can also arise, e.g. in the event that the testator gave gifts during his lifetime which reduce the value of the estate. However, this only applies to gifts that were given no more than ten years prior to the testator”s death. These gifts can be included in the value of the estate and thus influence the extent of the compulsory portion.
Should the testator wish to prevent either his spouse or offspring from the obtaining the compulsory portion, this is only possible under very strict conditions. Divesting those entitled to the compulsory portion of the compulsory portion is only possible if they can be accused of serious wrongdoing vis-à-vis the testator. This is the case, for example, if the person entitled to the compulsory portion seeks to kill the testator or is guilty of another serious criminal offence.
When it comes to inheritances, it is not uncommon for legal disputes to arise. Lawyers who are experienced in the field of succession law can serve testators, heirs and persons entitled to a compulsory portion as qualified go-to advisers.
GRP Rainer LLP www.grprainer.com/en/ is an international firm of lawyers and tax advisors who are specialists in commercial law. The firm counsels commercial and industrial companies and corporations, as well as associations, small- and mid-sized businesses, self-employed freelancers and private individuals worldwide from offices Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London UK.