The European Network of Registers of Wills Association

Finding a will in Germany

 Legal professionals, some questions/answers to assist you 

- When the existence of a will has been established, who has to be contacted to obtain information about its contents?

Information about the contents of a will is communicated by the court responsible for settling the succession. Its contact details can be provided by the notary holding the will, if necessary. The relevant notary can be located by searching the German Register of Wills.

Foreign courts can use mutual legal assistance to obtain an executory copy of the will.

- Who is entitled to receive the information?

The information contained in the will, and indeed a copy of the will, can be sent to public authorities, legal professionals responsible for settling the succession, wherever they are located, provided they can show that they are acting on behalf of a person with a legitimate interest. The information can also be communicated to any person with such an interest, i.e. any person holding or deprived of rights as a result of the will. Evidence of this interest must be provided.

- Is there a particular procedure to be followed? If so, which one?

For the information contained in the will, or a copy of the will itself, to be communicated, the will must have been opened in accordance with German law.

- By what means can the information be sent?

The information contained in the will and/or a copy of the will are sent by post or electronically (with an electronic signature).


24 November 2014
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by the European Union