Found out more about the cooperation between the ENRWA and the Federal Council of German Notaries (BNotK).

The Federal Council of German Notaries (BNotK) and the European network of last wills registers association are cooperating closely

On 8th December 2023, the President of the German Federal Chamber of Notaries, Prof Dr Jens Bormann, for the Central Register of Wills operated by the German Federal Chamber of Notaries, and the President of the European Network of Registers of Wills Associations, Octavian Rogojanu, signed a cooperation agreement.

The European Network of Registers of Wills Association (ENRWA), in French “Association du Réseau Européen des Registres Testamentaires (ARERT)”, is an international non-profit organisation created under Belgium law in 2005. All EU member states that have established a register for the recording of testamentary dispositions can join ENRWA and, thus, make it possible to find testamentary dispositions of deceased persons, regardless of the country in which such were registered. Since 2015, authorities that issue the European Certificate of Successions (ECS) can also connect to ENRWA in order to find out, if an ECS was already issued by another member state in a specific succession matter. Currently, thirteen registers of wills and three registers of European Certificates of Successions are interconnected through ENRWA. Thus, ENRWA makes an essential contribution to facilitate the settlement of succession matters in cross-border situations.

The German Federal Chamber of Notaries, which in Germany was given the legal mandate to operate the Central Register of Wills (Zentrales Testamentsregister; ZTR), has been a member of ENRWA since 2015. In Germany, the ZTR ensures that wills taken into official custody can be found reliably upon death. For this purpose, in the event of a person dying in Germany, the civil registry office issuing the death certificate submits an electronic notification about the death to the ZTR. If an entry concerning the deceased person is found, the authority which keeps the documents relating to succession under official safe custody - in Germany, a notary or a probate court - is informed of the death. Furthermore, the competent probate court is informed. All these automated steps within the ZTR ensure that the dispositions upon death made by the deceased person are found in order to guarantee the regard for the testator’s last will.

However, the ongoing trend of Europeanisation makes it all the more important to provide such information across borders. The cooperation agreement has therefore placed the already existing possibility for the ZTR to request information from foreign registers on a new contractual basis. Conversely, authorized foreign authorities can submit their inquiries directly to the ZTR and the colleagues of the ZTR will provide the necessary information.

>> About the author

Monika Thull is a notary candidate in the district of the Koblenz Chamber of Notaries and works as a legal advisor in the Brussels office of the German Federal Chamber of Notaries.

Check out for the full document in German and in English.