Last Will and Testament
A will or contract of inheritance are suitable means of creating a binding arrangement for an estate and circumventing intestate succession. Our team of lawyers who are experienced in the field of succession law can draw up testamentary dispositions in a way that ensures their effectiveness.
- Berliner Testament (Berlin will)
- Contract of inheritance
Only an error-free will ensures that the testator’s testamentary disposition is capable of being implemented effectively and disputes among the heirs are avoided. When preparing an effective will, it is important to take account of statutory regulations, e.g. those concerning claims to a compulsory portion.
The so-called “Berliner Testament” or spousal will is a special kind of will in which spouses mutually appoint each other as sole heirs. This is a way of preventing the assets from being broken up. However, this type of will entails certain disadvantages as well. For example, it is difficult to alter testamentary dispositions after the first spouse has died. One should also be mindful of tax allowances with respect to inheritance tax.
Another option instead of drafting a will is to draw up a notarised contract of inheritance. In addition to unilateral contracts, it is also possible to have multiple parties to a contract of inheritance whereby the contracting parties commit to reciprocal obligations. This can be a particularly desirable solution for those pursuing trades or for unmarried couples. Having said that, a contract of inheritance has a strong binding effect and is harder to revoke than a will.
It is always a good idea to give thought to arranging an estate at an early stage. Our team of lawyers who are experienced in the field of succession law can highlight various options as well as their respective advantages and disadvantages. It is especially important in instances of business succession to consider aspects that go beyond the scope of succession law. As an internationally oriented law firm, we are able to provide advice from a single source.