Support for executors or trustees of U.S. estates in Germany

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

  • Obtaining recognition of validity from German probate courts for U.S. wills and the issuance of German Letters Testamentary (“Testamentsvollstreckerzeugnis”) for U.S. executors;
  • Assistance with obtaining German Certificate of Heirship (“Erbschein”) for American heirs;
  • Providing legal representation for U.S. heirs, beneficiaries, executors, administrators and trustees of estate) 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 U.S. gift and estate taxes (federal and state) in Germany and deduction of such payments from any German estate, inheritance and gift tax liabilities;
  • Representing U.S. 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 U.S. heirs and beneficiaries and defending against claims of unwarranted German estate, inheritance and gift taxes;
  • Consulting regarding the structuring and timing of distributions from U.S. trusts by U.S. trustees to German resident beneficiaries to minimize any German estate, inheritance and gift tax liabilities.