Inheritance matters

General Information

Erbschaft Enlarge image (© colourbox) In Germany, the heir proves his/her legal right by a certificate of inheritance which is issued by the competent German probate court (Nachlassgericht) upon notarized application. It is normally required by banks or land register if the inheritance includes real estate or bank account(s) in Germany.

How to obtain a certificate of inheritance

1. The applicant has to provide all information necessary in advance, to enable the German Embassy to draft a formal application. Therefore, please use the prepared questionnaire. Please enclose copies of all documents proving the right to inherit (e. g. last will, letters testamentary, death certificates, birth certificates, marriage certificates etc.)

2. The German Embassy will prepare the application document and contact the applicant to set up an appointment for the applicant to appear at the German Embassy and to sign the document in due form. As German is the official language in Germany, the text of the application will be put forward only in German. 

If the applicant does not understand German, the consular officer will explain the contents of the paper to the applicant and translate it orally. If he/she wants to have an English translation of the application, the applicant will be responsible for all costs incurred by a translation.

It is necessary that the applicant shows all the original documents of which copies were provided with the questionnaire during this appointment. The German Embassy will notarize the copies, so the Probate Court in Germany receives a complete application with the pertinent documents enclosed.

3. The applicant will receive the original and a first certified copy of the application. The original should be sent to the competent probate court. A certified copy is kept on file by the German Embassy.

4. After having received the application, the probate court will issue the certificate of inheritance and forward it to the person named as recipient in the application.


The German Embassy will charge a fee for the notarization. Fees are based on the value of the estate. The applicant is required to provide detailed information about the value of the estate in Germany. Please contact the land register (Grundbuchamt) in Germany or your lawyer for further details of the value of real property.

The fees will be converted into SGD. You may pay in cash or eith credit card (Visa, Master). If you pay with credit card, the transaction will be processed in EUR. Further bank fees may apply.

The German Probate Court will also take a fee for issuing the certificate of inheritance. These fees are also based on the value of the estate and have to be transferred direcly to the bank account of the Probate Court.

Additional information in restitution matters

In restitution cases, the certificate of inheritance will be issued by the probate court ("Nachlassgericht") free of charge. However, there is a fee for the notarization of the application at the German Embassy (see above).

The certificate of inheritance will be issued by the probate court free of charge only, if it is sent directly to the German office, dealing with the restitution claim (Landesamt/Amt zur Regelung offener Vermögensfragen, abbreviated: LAROV or AROV). A notarized copy of the certificate however, may be sent to a representative or to the applicant himself/herself.

Declaration of renouncement of succession

According to German law the heirs can declare the renouncement of succession to the German probate court within six weeks after being informed about the case of succession. This period is extended to 6 months, if the deceased had his/her last residence abroad or if the heir is staying outside of Germany. 

The signatures on the declaration will, as a minimum requirement of form, have to be certified (signature certification). Both parents (one if it is a case of sole custody) of minor children, have to declare the renouncement of succession on the children’s behalf. Please also read the following information:

Certification of signatures

The declaration has to be sent directly to the responsible Probate Court.