Registration of Will and will search in Germany


Registering and searching for wills
  •  What are the most important dispositions of property upon death in German law?

* the notarial will which was drawn up by a civil law notary and the contract of inheritance.

* the testator’s handwritten, dated and signed will.

  •  Is there a Register of Wills in Germany?

Yes, there is a Central Register of Wills for Germany, run by the Federal Chamber of Notaries in Berlin (“Bundesnotarkammer”). Entries and searches are executed electronically by German civil law notaries and law courts.

The registration of a will
  •   Which wills are recorded?

Entries include inheritance contracts, notarial testaments and other documents of a kind likely to influence inheritance such as, for instance, agreements of waiver of right of inheritance and certain marriage contracts and choice of law clauses. Holographic wills may be registered only if placed in a special secure place in the court.

  •  What data are stored?

Only data for safekeeping purposes are stored, not the contents of the wills. The Register of Wills therefore records only where the testator is located and where his or her inheritance documents are kept.

  •  Why register a will?

The registration of notarial or officially kept documents of a kind likely to influence inheritance is obligatory.

  • Who can carry out the registration?

Registration is performed only by the German civil law notary having drawn up the will or, as the case may be, by the court at which the will was deposited for safekeeping. Privately kept wills on the other hand cannot be recorded at all; this also applies to wills kept abroad.

  •  Where is the will kept?

Wills are kept in a special secure place at the competent court. Inheritance contracts may be kept either by the civil law notary who authenticated the contract or by the competent court. All other documents concerning inheritance are kept exclusively by the civil law notary.

  •  Do the testator’s relatives have the right of perusal of the register while he/she is still alive?

 No, the existence of the registered documents remains a secret during the testator’s lifetime without the testator’s consent.

  •  How much does it cost to register the will?

Recording an inheritance document costs 12,50 Euros if the fee is charged by a civil law notary or by the court, or 15,50 Euros if the Registry must charge the costs directly to the testator.

The search for the wills
  • Who can search the register of wills, and when?

The existence of the will and its contents will remain secret throughout the lifetime of the testator.

Upon the death of the testator, any interested person may consult the register of wills themselves or through a legal professional (notary, judge, lawyer). This search is essential in order to ensure that the last wishes of the testator are respected.

  • Is it compulsory to provide a death certificate?

Yes, the interested party will need to provide a death certificate in order to conduct a search. This measure ensures that the existence of the will remains secret during the testator’s lifetime.

  • How much does a search cost?

A search in the Belgian CRT is free of charge, as is a correction or deletion of data from an existing registration.


Fiche pratique - inscrire et rechercher un testament - Allemagne - EN