Certificate of inheritance ('Erbschein')

Inheritance, © colourbox

03.08.2023 - Article

The German equivalent of a Grant of Probate is a certificate of inheritance issued by a German court. In many inheritance cases, it is required in order to access estate situated in Germany.

Part of the application is a declaration in lieu of an oath, which has to be notarised by a court or notary (‘Notar’) in Germany.

Abroad, the declaration in lieu of an oath can be notarised by an authorised consular officer at a German Consulate General or Embassy.

The German Embassy in Dublin offers you a questionnaire for inheritance matters (please see forms below) which is the basis for the preparation of your application for a certificate of inheritance. Please complete the questionnaire as thoroughly as possible and send it back to the Embassy (via e-mail or via post). In addition to the questionnaire, you should also submit copies of available certificates relating to the line of succession including birth, death and marriage certificates, last wills, grant of probate, etc.

If the decedent left a will, the Embassy requires information on whether the will has been probated or not. Please be prepared to submit the original will to the German probate court in case it has not been probated in Ireland.

Based on your questionnaire the Embassy will draft an application for a certificate of inheritance and will then contact you in order to arrange an appointment for the notarisation. There will be one fee of 246,44 Euros for preparing the notarisation and an additional fee of 131,57 Euros for the notarisation of the application.

Due to legal requirements, the text of the application will be in German only. If the applicant is not in sufficient command of German, the consular officer can verbally translate the full contents of the application to English. However, you can arrange a translator for assistance during the appointment at your costs.

Due to the large number of applications received, it may take 5-6 months until the draft of the application is ready for notarisation. Applications are being processed in chronological order. The Embassy regrets any inconvenience that this might cause. The Embassy will contact you as soon as possible to arrange an appointment for notarisation. In the meantime, we kindly ask you to refrain from individual enquiries regarding the application status.

After notarisation, you will need to send the application to the competent German probate court together with certified true copies of the required personal documents. Please keep in mind that the German court may request translations of any foreign document even though translations of English documents are not required for notarisation at the Embassy. A court fee will be charged for the issuance of the certificate of inheritance/executorship.

Please note that the Embassy can only draft and notarise the application for you. You or your representative will need to submit it to the German probate court and you will need to handle any follow-up correspondence. The probate court’s correspondence is usually in German only. The Embassy will not be able to offer you individual legal advice or translation services and cannot act on your behalf in the court proceedings. You would need to refer to a member of the legal profession and/or a translator for assistance in this regard.

In case of any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Embassy in writing or by email.


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