German-Canadian probate law and estate planning

German-Canadian Inheritance Law

We specialize in inheritance law pertaining to the Canada. A connection with Canada can arise, for instance, if assets are located in Canada or if the testator is a Canadian citizen or has a (tax) domicile in Canada. Our services include:

German-Canadian Estate Planning

We frequently advise clients from Canada jurisdictions in all matters connected with international estate planning, including, but not limited to:

  • Reviewing existing wills
  • Designing and drafting both Canadian wills and German testaments
  • Structuring estate plans prepared by Canadian estate planners to avoid or minimize German estate, inheritance or gift tax liabilities
  • Preparing living wills and health care proxies for both the Canada and Germany

Support for executors or trustees of Canadian estates in Germany

We advise and assist clients acting as executors or trustees of Canadian estates or trusts with assets in Germany and/or having German heirs. Our services include:

  • Obtaining recognition of validity from German probate courts for Canadian wills and the issuance of German Letters Testamentary (“Testamentsvollstreckerzeugnis”) for Canadian executors/estate trustees; 
  • Assistance with obtaining German Certificate of Heirship (“Erbschein”) for Canadian heirs;
  • Providing legal representation for Canadian heirs, beneficiaries, executors, administrators and estate trustees) in connection with obtaining assets held by German banks, insurance companies and financial institutions, passing both through or outside of probate;
  • Assistance with the preparation and filing of German estate, inheritance, and gift tax returns for American estates, heirs and beneficiaries to ensure recognition of payments of Canadian Capital Gains Tax on deemed disposition on death;
  • Representing Canadian executors, administrators, heirs, beneficiaries and trustees before German probate courts and taxation authorities, including obtaining tax clearance for the release of German assets passing to Canadian heirs and beneficiaries and defending against claims of unwarranted German estate, inheritance and gift taxes;.

Support for Estate/Probate Proceedings in Canada

We also advise clients in Canadian probate proceedings on any questions pertaining to German inheritance law.  Our services include

  • providing Affidavits in Foreign Law (German Law) and
  • Legal Opinions on German law in foreign contentious probate proceedings. 

Representation of Canadian lients in Contentious probate proceedings in Germany

We represent Canadian beneficiaries as well as executors and trustees in contentious probate proceedings in German courts, e.g.

  • Forced heirship claims under German law (Pflichtteil),
  • Will contest on the grounds of Undue Influence and Lack of Mental Capacity,
  • Dissolution of community of co-heirs (Erbengemeinschaft),
  • Dismissal/removal of executors,
  • Contentious Determination of heirs (Erbenfeststellungklage) or
  • Injunctions.

How do we consult?

Consultations typically take place by telephone or e-mail. We also offer local consultations in Germany. During our initial consultation either through email or phone, we will determine in advance whether it makes sense to hold a consultation locally (e.g., in Germany) or in Canada. In case of contested court proceedings, payment should always be made pursuant to statutory jurisdiction.

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Do you have any questions? We would be pleased to assist you. To make getting in touch with us as simple and efficient as possible for both parties, we ask you to primarily use our contact form for your questions. Please describe the matter as clearly as possible. You can also add attachments. After sending your inquiry, the attorney responsible will contact you either by telephone or by e-mail within 24 hours and, where necessary, pose further questions or submit a proposal for consultation.  

Of course, you can also call us directly to make an appointment for a personal consultation or telephone consultation (find contact details here). All potential clients will be informed in advance of any costs that may be incurred during the initial consultation

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