Inheritance law includes all legal provisions that deal with who should own a person’s assets (testator) after their death.

Inheritance law is expressly guaranteed constitutionally in Germany by Article 14 of the Basic Law. Inheritance law is regulated by law primarily in the fifth book of the Civil Code, §§ 1922-2385 BGB.

When a person dies, the question arises as to what happens to their assets or to whom their assets should pass. In order to regulate this, you can, for example, draw up a will under inheritance law. This is subject to certain formal requirements, such as that it must always be handwritten and signed by hand in order for it to be effective under inheritance law. However, there are also other options in inheritance law to determine the transfer of one’s assets or parts of one’s assets after death, e.g. the inheritance contract or a legacy.

If no will or inheritance contract has been drawn up, then in inheritance law there is legal succession, which means that those who are named as legal heirs according to the law in Sections 1924 ff. of the Civil Code inherit. There is a special hierarchy/sequence in inheritance law, which is essentially based on the degree of relationship. For example, if the testator’s own children (descendants) exist at the time of death, they generally inherit equally under inheritance law. The spouse also has a legally standardized right of inheritance in accordance with. § 1931 BGB.

Gegenstand von Auseinandersetzungen im Erbrecht sind regelmäßig folgende Bereiche:

  • Will, joint will, inheritance contract
  • Contesting the will or the inheritance contract
  • Acceptance and renunciation of inheritance
  • Challenging acceptance or rejection
  • Inheritance upon divorce
  • Compulsory share claim
  • Hereditary unworthiness
  • the certificate of inheritance


On the following pages we will try to provide you with as much information as possible about the basic principles of inheritance law.

We also recommend the following pages on the subject of inheritance law: