What if affordability and cost should mean

Turning out inheritance: deadlines and costs | You should know that

An inheritance does not always bring more money. AlsoDebt of the deceased are passed on to the bereaved. How to proceed in such a case.

When it comes to inheritance, most people think that the deceased will bequeath something to the bereaved - real estate, jewelry, antiques, or at least cash. But it can also turn out differently.

If the estate is heavily indebted, the dreamed-up plus quickly turns into a minus. Here you can find out what you should pay attention to, how you can turn down your legacy and what the consequences will be.

When does it make sense to turn down an inheritance?

If you inherit, you should think twice and examine sufficiently whether you will also accept the inheritance. Because according to § 1967 of the German Civil Code (BGB) heirs are liable for all liabilitiesfrom the estate.

So there are a few situations when it makes sense to turn down an inheritance:

  • Dilapidated property: If you inherit a house, it may well be in need of renovation. If you don't want to bear the cost of it, then you should turn down the inheritance.
  • Personal bankruptcy: When you are in consumer bankruptcy, the legacy goes to your creditors. Then it can make sense to turn down the inheritance.
  • High debts: It may well be that the inheritance is over-indebted - and you then have to be liable for it with your private assets. If that's the case, then it's worth turning down the inheritance.

When asked about possible debts, heirs cannot hope for the authorities. The Probate Court, which is usually located at the district court, only tells you that you have inherited something - but does not know what the estate looks like.

You as an heir should therefore be one Estate Directory for the court.If the testator's debts are not known, the heirs must provide evidence of their own debts.

Get an overview of the legacy

You should therefore look at the testator's documents: sift through account statements and files, check contracts and look through mail. Are there any outstanding bills, loans, guarantees or other obligations and debts? Even a property that is in need of renovation can ruin the heir financially.

The problem: As a rule, credit institutions or insurance companies require a certificate of inheritance before you can inspect the deceased's financial situation. However, if you have the Apply for a certificate of inheritancethe inheritance is deemed to have been accepted. You can then no longer turn down the inheritance in the simple way (see alternatives below). However, it should be possible for you to present the will or a certified copy of the will to the testator's bank.

You may already have one Power of attorney or you got one Power of attorney granted. In this case, you can also get an overview of the financial situation at the relevant credit institution without a certificate of inheritance.

Note the deadline: How much time do I have to turn down the inheritance?

Heirs have according to § 1944 BGBsix weeksto get an overview of the inheritance (see above). After this period, the inheritance is deemed to have been accepted. The deadline does not begin with the death of the relative, but with the point in time at which the court informs the heirs.

Good to know: If the deceased either lived abroad or if you are outside Germany, the period can be extended to six months. Once you find out about the inheritance, you should still contact the probate court.

How can I turn down an inheritance - and what does it cost?

As a bereaved, turning down the over-indebted inheritance is not particularly difficult. For this you have to contact the probate court a personal statement indicate that you want to turn down the inheritance. You do not have to give the exact reasons for this, but it can be useful.

However, the following applies: This must be done "as a written record of the probate court or in a publicly certified form", as regulated by Section 1945 of the German Civil Code. A simple letter is therefore not enough.

Good to know: Surviving dependents can either turn to the local court at the last place of residence of the deceased or appear at the local court at their own place of residence. Exception: If the deceased was domiciled abroad, the Berlin-Schöneberg District Court is responsible.

Alternatively, you can inherit turn down at a notarywho notarially certifies this and sends it to the court. A letter from the heir alone is not enough.

Important: If you reject an inheritance, you are also not entitled to the compulsory portion. You cannot take part of the inheritance either. The rule is: all or not at all. Therefore, formulate the succession as clearly as possible.

What does the succession cost?

There are costs both for personally rejecting the inheritance at the court and at a notary. At the probate court, however, these should be less than with the help of a notary, at a flat rate of 30 euros.

What is the alternative to succession?

If the succession period has expired or you only suspect that the inheritance is over-indebted, you can still prevent yourself from being held liable for the debt. You have several options for this:

  • Three-month defense: The three-month defense is like a grace period. If you have accepted the inheritance, you can use the three-month defense to get an overview of the assets and debts. During this time, you will not have to pay off the inherited debts. However, this is only a temporary limitation of liability for the first three months - after that you have other options (see below).
  • Estate administration: With an estate administration, surviving dependents can prevent them from having to pay off inherited debts with their own assets. Then the court appoints an administrator to handle the inheritance. This is how the steward arranges the inheritance and settles the debts from the existing inheritance. The costs for the administrator of the estate are usually based on the inheritance.
  • Public notice procedure: If you have taken over an inheritance through debt, you can initiate a public notice procedure. From this point in time, the one-year period begins in which creditors can register their claims. Claims that are made after the one-year period no longer have to be served.
  • Estate insolvency proceedings: Survivors can apply to the court to open bankruptcy proceedings. This means that heirs do not have to pay the testator's debts. However, there are always costs for the judicial process.

Good to know: If you could not have known the overindebtedness of the estate, you can contest the inheritance on the basis of an error. From the time of knowledge of the error, a period of six weeks applies in which the erroneous acceptance of the inheritance must be declared to the probate court.

Can I reverse a succession?

Yes, but it can get complicated. To reverse a succession, you need one Ground for avoidance

That can be a concrete mistake based on facts. An example would be if the heir did not know about a securities account.

Important: You shouldn't rely on reversing a servile. Therefore, check the estate very carefully before turning down the inheritance.

How is debts legally inherited?

Unless otherwise decreed, it applies in the event of death according to inheritance law, the legal succession. In the case of an over-indebted inheritance, the surviving spouse can also refuse the inheritance.

The estate then goes to their children. If they are still minors, the legal representative, i.e. the remaining parent, can turn down the inheritance for the children. In this case the estate falls to the neighbor in the legal succession.

If all heirs reject their share of the inheritance, the state inherits - but without liability. The creditors get nothing in the case.

Do I have to pay for the funeral in the event of death?

Yes, that is possible. If you turn down your inheritance, the other heirs pay for the funeral.

If there are none, or the remaining heirs also reject the inheritance, they take action individual funeral laws of the federal states. These regulate which heirs have to pay the funeral in which order. You are guided by the Maintenance obligation: Spouses, children, parents, siblings - and later possibly also grandparents, grandchildren or even more distant relatives.

If there are no heirs and the relatives are insolvent, the state has to step in and pay the funeral expenses. This then happens either from the estate - or the state uses a so-called Social burial back. In this case, the funeral will be very simple to keep costs as low as possible.

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