Central wills registry (Zentrales Testamentsregister)

Since 2012, Germany has a central will registry (Zentrales Testamentsregister) which is managed by the Federal Chamber of German Notaries (Bundesnotarkammer). Entries include contracts of inheritance (Erbvertrag), notarial wills and other documents of a kind likely to influence inheritance (e.g. waiver of right of inheritance and certain marriage contracts). A holographic will may only be registered if the testator has placed it in safe custody of a German probate court (Nachlassgericht). The Will registry only records where the Testator resides and where his/her inheritance documents are kept. The orginal Will remains in court costody. Inheritance contracts may be in custody either by the German notary who notarized the document or in court custody. All other documents concerning inheritance are kept exclusively by the German notary, who notarized the document. There is no right of no one (except the Testator) to get Information from the wills registry during the testator‘s lifetime. Recording a will in the central wills registry costs 15 Euros if the fee is charged by a civil law notary or by the court, or 18 Euros if the Registry must charge the costs directly to the Testator. Only German Courts and German notaries are entitled to make a will search. The will search is free of charge. The Federal Chamber of Notaries is notified of all deaths in Germany and informs the proper probate court (Nachlassgericht) of the content of the Wills registry. 


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