05-28-2008

Additional claims to inheritance for caregivers – clearer rules for "disinheritance"




The first reading of the "inheritance law reform" will take place in the Bundestag on May 29. The objective of the scheduled changes, among other things, is that close relatives who nursed the testator are to receive a bonus. In addition, the legal requirements for what is known as the "disinheritance" of unloved family members are supposed to be arranged in a more practical manner.

In the case of legal succession, children who nursed their parents currently have an opportunity for financial compensation in the distribution of the inheritance under current law only if they have waived income due the nursing services. In this respect, it is completely unclear what amount they may claim. "The determination of the amount in question currently involves an enormous potential for dispute and risk of litigation", Claus-Henrik Horn, expert in inheritance law of law firm Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek explains. It is now planned that an appropriate settlement will be achieved by means of changes to inheritance law and the law on a statutory share. Waiving of own income should no longer be necessary in the future. Nursing employment per month is supposed to be credited at up to 1,432 euro if the parent in question was at the highest level of care.

The requirements for what is known as the "withdrawal of the statutory share" are also to be reformed. Testators who wish to take such a radical step will soon no longer be able to base their decision on "dishonorable and indecent moral conduct." "It is time for this paragraph, which is of little practical use, to finally be omitted", Horn says. On the other hand, the option of withdrawal of the statutory share is supposed to be added if the beneficiary was legally sentenced to prison for an intentional criminal act and his/her participation in the testator’s legacy is therefore "unacceptable".

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