Ideally there is only one heir so only one person has to decide to accept the inheritance or reject it. It should be carefully thought over, as there also may be debts as part of the inheritance. If real estate property is inherited – a single family home, condominium or land – it should be made clear if there are still outstanding loans on the property, utilities have not been paid, inheritance taxes may apply (depending on the degree of relationship and the amount of the inheritance) and it should also taken into consideration if you are able to afford future maintenance for the property. In addition, there is the question of its use. Do you wish to live on the property or rather rent it to use for your pension? If a will does not exist, you must then contact the probate court (part of the district court at the last place of residence of the deceased) or a notary to apply for a certificate of inheritance. You must present the required documents so that you can deal with banks, officials or if selling the property, to be able to certify yourself as the heir. For the sale of the property, you become the owner, taking on all responsibilities of the property (security obligations, maintenance costs, ensuring accurate information if the property is to be sold). If you wish to quickly sell the real estate you do not have to arrange for the transfer of ownership and register at the land registry. This may also be applied for by the notary when the sale is in process. The transfer of ownership for the heir at the land registry is free for two years.
In the case of several heirs (spouse and children, siblings, grandchildren) in an inheritance case, the possibility of conflicting views is almost inevitable, as not all heirs have the same opinion of what should be done with the inheritance. There are also other tricky questions. What happens when a co-heir uses or wants to use the property himself? Are all of the other co-heirs responsible together for the costs? Is it possible for an heir to dispose of his share? What are the possibilities if the community of heirs is not able to come to an agreement? A co-heir may doubt the value of the property. Who is allowed to hire the workmen? Is it possible to give a co-heir power of attorney? To what extent am I liable as a co-heir if I take over the management of a rental property?
Many problems may occur when the inheritance is distributed among a community of heirs. Therefore it is best not to forget the saying, “Better safe than sorry.”
If you would like further information about this topic, please contact us. We are very happy to advise you.
VENT-Immobilien Bad Saarow
Fürstenwalder Chaussee 3b
D-15526 Bad Saarow