Legal succession: law & community of heirs in case of death + procedure / checklist

Legal succession, community of heirs – After a death, the question often arises as to how the inheritance should be divided. If the deceased has left a will, the arrangement is usually clear and will be carried out according to the last will of the testator. However, if the inheritance is made according to intestate succession, communities of heirs are often formed and many unanswered questions arise. Tip. Do you want to make proper provisions or deal with the inheritance in the right way? We have written an extra for both cases: The right way to bequeath and the right way to inherit.

Legal succession: This is how you inherit according to the law

Legal succession regulates both the order of heirs and the individual amounts that are inherited. First the closest relatives, such as children and grandchildren, inherit and then the more distant relatives, such as nephews and nieces. Closer relatives generally exclude the more distant relatives from inheritance. The proportion to which the individual heirs inherit is documented in the certificate of inheritance.

The legal succession is based on the Parantel – or order system. It divides the relatives into different orders. Accordingly, children and grandchildren of the deceased belong to the first order. Parents, siblings, nieces and nephews of the testator are assigned to the second order. The third order includes grandparents, uncles and aunts as well as cousins of the deceased. Spouses and registered partners are not considered relatives, but have the right of inheritance as spouses. This gives them a special status and limits the right of relatives to inherit. Relatives of the preceding order always exclude relatives of a subsequent order from the succession.

Read more on the subject of partition auctions in communities of heirs!

Separate community of heirs: settle debts, distribute inheritance

Ideally, the heirs of a community of heirs would pay any debts swiftly from the estate and then dissolve the community of heirs by distributing the surplus according to shares. However, this is often not the reality. Disputes within the community of heirs often ensure that they remain unresolved for years after the inheritance. Each member of such a community of heirs has the right to demand dissolution at any time, even without good cause.

Step by step: Dissolving a community of heirs

In order for a community of heirs to be dissolved without disputes, it is advisable to follow certain steps. From the correct valuation of the estate to inheritance taxes, there are important fromalien to consider.

Determine estate

Until the estate has been determined, a community of heirs cannot be divided. The heirs receive most of the information from the bank where the deceased had the accounts or deposits. In order to gain access to these, a certificate of inheritance or a will with a court-ordered opening protocol is required. However, debts are also part of the estate. In order to determine the estate completely, the debts and the assets should be compared and reconciled.

Pay off an estate debt

The debts of the estate can be paid by the heirs of the community of heirs from the estate. It is not uncommon for items belonging to the estate to have to be sold for this purpose, such as real estate or land.

Take into account gifts and donations

If an heir has received gifts or donations from the deceased during his or her lifetime, these may be subject to equalisation. The gifts that are subject to equalisation increase the estate arithmetically and are deducted from the inheritance quota of the donee. Each heir can request information from the others about such gifts so that they are correctly taken into account.

Sell indivisible items

If a true division is not possible for certain items, such as a property in the community of heirs, the heirs may have to sell this item or have it foreclosed. In order to do this, a realistic sales price must first be determined. If no agreement can be reached here, a partition auction can be initiated by one of the heirs.

Distribute divisible objects

The inheritance is to be divided in the first place in nature by the heirs. Each heir can therefore take items for himself from the estate in agreement with the other heirs. Money and securities can be divided by the community of heirs according to their respective shares.

Consider care services

If a child has cared for the deceased parent without consideration during his or her lifetime, compensation may be claimed for this. This must be appropriate to the duration, scope and value of the estate.

Notary helps

If an agreement cannot be reached, a notary can be called in by the community of heirs. This mediates between the heirs in order to reach an agreement as quickly as possible. However, it should be borne in mind that such assistance is associated with some costs.

Take account of the tax office

Inheritance tax is always payable on an inheritance. However, some things from the estate can be deducted from the tax, such as the costs of the funeral or fees for the opening of the will.

Learn more about communities of heirs!

Errors in community of heirs – Video

Questions on the topic: Deal with inheritance

If the deceased did not leave a will, there are usually many open questions regarding the distribution of the inheritance. The legal succession is supposed to regulate this case, however, it often comes to disputes between the heirs. So that no questions remain unanswered for you and you know all the facts on the subject of inheritance, the experts of Lukinski now answer the most important questions.

How can I dissolve a community of heirs?

A community of heirs can only be dissolved if the inheritance can be distributed with the unanimous consent of all heirs. Depending on the case, partial auctions or notaries may be necessary to help with this.

Can you transfer an inheritance?

Upon the occurrence of the succession, each heir may freely dispose of his or her share. A transfer of the inheritance to a third person is therefore quite possible.

Can you also sell your share in a community of heirs?

Your share of real estate or land in an estate cannot be sold until either you are the sole owner of that property by a unanimous vote of the community of heirs, or the community of heirs has been dissolved and the shares have been paid out.

What do I need to apply for a certificate of inheritance?

To apply for a certificate of inheritance, you need an identity card or passport, a death certificate from the deceased, a family register, the names and addresses of the co-heirs and other relatives, if applicable the will or the contract of inheritance or information about their custodians.

What is an inheritance settlement agreement?

An inheritance settlement agreement regulates the division of the estate according to shares within a community of heirs.

What happens in a partition auction?

In a partition auction, an item belonging to the estate, such as real estate or land, is auctioned off and the proceeds are divided among the heirs according to shares.

When should the inheritance be disclaimed?

The inheritance should be disclaimed if it is over-indebted and the assets cannot cover the debts of the estate, or if dilapidated real estate is part of the estate, the renovation of which would be too expensive.