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Inheritance Law & Succession

A well thought-out drafting of your last will and testament ensures that your personal ideas are implemented, creates legal certainty and avoids disputes when the time comes for inheritance. We support you in developing individual solutions for your succession, e.g. by drafting a will or making gifts during your lifetime. Once the inheritance has been settled, the interpersonal component often plays a decisive role in addition to legal issues. Our holistic advisory approach to inheritance law ensures that not only your legal concerns are taken into account comprehensively, but that your personal and financial interests are also at the center of attention.

Our specialties

Drafting wills and inheritance contracts

Legal succession often leads to disputes. By effectively drawing up a well-thought-out disposition of property upon death, you can decide for yourself who should receive what and how much of your estate. In particular, mechanisms can be provided at this stage to avoid any future disputes between the persons involved in the estate as far as possible. We develop customized legal solutions according to your personal ideas. Depending on requirements, we can draw on a large network of tax advisors for tax matters.

Anticipated succession during lifetime (gifts, transfer agreements)

Under certain circumstances, it may make sense to transfer assets to future heirs or relatives during your lifetime by way of anticipated succession. With the right arrangement, this can sometimes save inheritance tax and reduce the compulsory portion claims of unwelcome relatives. However, the transfer of a property or a company during one’s lifetime in particular may require careful consideration and advice. On the one hand, an anticipated inheritance should never lead to you getting into financial difficulties for the rest of your life. On the other hand, possible future changes in your family/life situation should be contractually secured.

Strategies for reducing the compulsory portion

Skilful structuring, e.g. lifetime transfers or testamentary arrangements, can reduce compulsory portion claims and protect your heirs. A person entitled to a compulsory portion can also waive the compulsory portion during the testator’s lifetime (e.g. to protect the last deceased parent). We support you with the legal implementation so that the planned reduction in the compulsory portion does not end up “falling on your or the heirs’ feet”.

Assertion of and defense against claims to compulsory portions

If a next of kin (descendant, parent, spouse) is disinherited by will, they are still entitled to a monetary payment (the compulsory portion). The compulsory portion corresponds to half of the statutory inheritance share and is associated with extensive rights to information and valuation. Depending on the individual case, the right to a compulsory portion may be supplemented, for example, by claims to a residual or supplementary compulsory portion. We support you both in asserting and defending against compulsory portion claims in and out of court.

Pension planning

Living will, health care proxy, agreement on the internal relationship of the power of attorney, care decree, funeral decree, packing the so-called “emergency kit” – with the multitude of sensible precautionary measures, it is often difficult for those affected to maintain the necessary overview. However, legally sound and well thought-out advance care planning is invaluable if you are no longer able to act for yourself or express your wishes due to illness, accident or infirmity. We are happy to support you in this. Your relatives will thank you for it.

Inheritance disputes

Inheritance disputes in families are widespread and are often highly emotional and sometimes unfortunately “below the belt”. This usually places a high psychological burden on those involved. By drafting their last will and testament, the testator can already comprehensively prevent disputes. Even after the inheritance case, we support you in resolving the conflict and help you find a possible agreement with the other party. If there is no prospect of an amicable solution, we will enforce your rights in court if necessary.

Development of tax-optimized concepts (in cooperation with tax consultants)

Inheritance and gift taxes can be a burden on succession. We work closely with tax advisors to develop tax-optimized solutions that ensure that as many assets as possible remain with your heirs and that the tax burden is as low as possible. We also keep an eye on your financial security in old age.

Waiver and acceptance of the inheritance

As the deceased’s heir, you automatically assume the deceased’s rights and obligations in full (universal succession). After the inheritance, it is possible to waive the inheritance. This requires swift action, as statutory, non-extendable deadlines have been set for the probate proceedings. Even if the estate is not over-indebted, it may be more advantageous for spouses or those entitled to a compulsory portion to waive their inheritance for financial reasons, depending on the individual case. If there was an error when accepting or waiving the inheritance, undesirable consequences of acceptance or waiver can be remedied by contesting the inheritance.

Limitation of liability of the heir (e.g. estate insolvency)

As universal successor to the deceased, an heir is also liable for the deceased’s debts to an unlimited extent. Often, the testator’s debts only become known once the deadline for the inheritance has already expired. If an estate is over-indebted, the heirs have various options under the law to limit liability to the estate and thus protect their own assets.

Usufruct and right of residence

The reservation of a usufruct or right of residence offers tax advantages and protects the transferor in the event of the transfer of real estate during his or her lifetime. However, the contractual arrangement of a usufruct or right of residence should not be “standard”, but should be tailored to your individual case.

Company succession & succession planning

Successful company succession is one of the most difficult challenges an entrepreneur faces in the course of their career. For owner-managed (family) businesses in particular, this applies not only in entrepreneurial and legal terms, but also in personal terms. Advice on company succession therefore requires not only legal and business management expertise, but above all empathy in order to preserve and shape a company’s life’s work for the successor. Passing the business on to the next generation is certainly the most common, but by no means the only option for company succession. We support you in the careful analysis of the initial situation, the development of alternative courses of action and the development and implementation of your succession concept.

Advice on alternative structuring models (e.g. foundations)

Foundations or family companies can be a suitable successor model, especially for larger assets. Our legal advice combines expertise in inheritance, foundation and corporate law with your individual goals. Organize your succession in a sustainable and tax-optimized way. In close cooperation with tax advisors, we offer you tailor-made solutions that secure your ideas for your succession in a tax-optimized and sustainable manner.

Legal relationships of all kinds can lead to conflicts. This is especially true when it comes to money and emotions. Emotions play a decisive role, especially in inheritance law disputes between family members. It is often just a matter of “principle” once the fronts between the parties have hardened. Before a dispute escalates, we therefore examine the possible alternatives to court proceedings for you at an early stage, develop pragmatic solution strategies and negotiate out of court with the other parties involved. If going to court is unavoidable, we will assert your interests with commitment, passion and vigor.

Digital estate

Accounts, emails, passwords, social media profiles of the deceased are – unlike the house, the antique cupboard and the savings – intangible, often inaccessible and frequently not even known. The digital legacy and its traces in smartphones, tablets and computers have become an integral part of our everyday lives. A multitude of accounts also means a multitude of user operations. In order to make it easier for the heirs to deal with them later, the digital estate should also be regulated.

Settlement of communities of heirs

Disputes between communities of heirs require time, nerves and money in the event of a dispute. Complex legal steps and negotiating skills, as well as sensitivity to the emotions of the parties involved, are often necessary in order to move the inheritance dispute forward. Our advice successfully supports you in inheritance disputes, the distribution of estate assets and the liquidation of real estate and companies, both in reaching an amicable agreement and in the litigious enforcement of your rights.

Fulfillment of legacy

A legacy grants the beneficiary a claim under the law of obligations against the estate. We help you to enforce your legacy claims against the heirs and, conversely, to defend them against unjustified claims against the estate.

Execution of wills

The execution of a will can prevent disputes between heirs and ensures that your last wishes are carried out. An executor is subject to a number of rights and obligations. We support you both as an executor in the fulfillment of your duties and as an heir/legatee in ensuring that your rights are protected against an executor. In addition, we can act as executor of your will at your request and implement your testamentary dispositions.

Certificate of inheritance proceedings

The certificate of inheritance does not establish an inheritance right, but only serves as a certificate of inheritance rights. Depending on the individual case, there may be no alternative to applying for a certificate of inheritance to settle the estate. Particularly in more complex inheritance cases, legal clarification should be obtained in advance in order to avoid unnecessary court fees. We support you in submitting a successful application. If the status of the heir is disputed, we will represent you in the disputed certificate of inheritance proceedings before the probate court.

Your contact person for Inheritance Law & Succession

Intellectual Property

Corporate Law / M&A

Why Bartsch?

Wolfgang Döring
Dr. Reinhard Möller
Sabine Przerwok
Dr. habil. Christian Förster
Marc Blaha
Joachim Dorschel
Rüdiger Strubel
Dr. Stephanie Funk
Florian Krug
Marin Mrvelj
Constanze Stallecker
Ulrich A. Goetz
Julien Sweeting, LL.M. (London)
Daniel Scharpf
Alexandra Steg, LL.B.
Bernhard Fritz
Hendrik Stroborn
Dr. Oliver Klein
Sarah Zentner
Dr. Thomas Scharpf
Prof. Dr. Michael Bartsch
Dr. Alexander Hoff
Dr. Gerhard Wagner
Wolfgang Döring
Dr. Reinhard Möller
Sabine Przerwok
Dr. habil. Christian Förster
Marc Blaha
Joachim Dorschel
Rüdiger Strubel
Dr. Stephanie Funk
Florian Krug
Marin Mrvelj
Constanze Stallecker
Ulrich A. Goetz
Julien Sweeting, LL.M. (London)
Daniel Scharpf
Alexandra Steg, LL.B.
Bernhard Fritz
Hendrik Stroborn
Dr. Oliver Klein
Sarah Zentner
Dr. Thomas Scharpf
Prof. Dr. Michael Bartsch
Dr. Alexander Hoff
Dr. Gerhard Wagner
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Öffnungszeiten:  Mo. bis Fr.  08–17 Uhr

Bahnhofstraße 10
76137 Karlsruhe
Dr. Gerhard Wagner
Dr. Alexander Hoff
Alexandra Steg, LL.B.
Wolfgang Döring
Rüdiger Strubel
Dr. habil. Christian Förster
Sabine Przerwok
Florian Krug
Hendrik Stroborn
Bernhard Fritz
Julien Sweeting, LL.M. (London)
Constanze Stallecker
Daniel Scharpf
Marin Mrvelj
Joachim Dorschel
Ulrich A. Goetz
Dr. Reinhard Möller
Dr. Thomas Scharpf
Marc Blaha
Prof. Dr. Michael Bartsch
Sarah Zentner
Dr. Stephanie Funk
Dr. Oliver Klein
Dr. Gerhard Wagner
Dr. Alexander Hoff
Alexandra Steg, LL.B.
Wolfgang Döring
Rüdiger Strubel
Dr. habil. Christian Förster
Sabine Przerwok
Florian Krug
Hendrik Stroborn
Bernhard Fritz
Julien Sweeting, LL.M. (London)
Constanze Stallecker
Daniel Scharpf
Marin Mrvelj
Joachim Dorschel
Ulrich A. Goetz
Dr. Reinhard Möller
Dr. Thomas Scharpf
Marc Blaha
Prof. Dr. Michael Bartsch
Sarah Zentner
Dr. Stephanie Funk
Dr. Oliver Klein
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Opening hours: Mon. until Fri. 08-17 o’clock

Bahnhofstraße 10
76137 Karlsruhe