How to obtain a certificate of inheritance


In order to manage an estate in Germany (e.g. in real estate matters), a certificate of inheritance issued by a German probate court or a certificate of executorship must often be presented. For estate matters from August 2015 onwards, an application can also be filed for the issue of a European Certificate of Succession if the estate assets are located in at least two EU member states (exception: Great Britain, Ireland, Denmark).

An application for a certificate of inheritance must be accompanied by an affidavit, which requires authentication. Applicants from Canada can notarize an application for a certificate of inheritance at the German Consulate General in Toronto. The certificate of inheritance is issued in a subsequent, separate procedure by the competent German probate court (“Nachlassgericht”).

To apply for a certificate of inheritance, we offer you a questionnaire to download, which allows us to prepare an application for a certificate of inheritance for you. Please print out the questionnaire, fill it out completely and send it to the German Consulate General in Toronto together with the required supporting documents. Depending on the family circumstances and the type of inheritance (testamentary or legal), documents must be submitted to substantiate the information in the application (civil status documents, last wills, etc.).

Please note that in certain constellations, bank accounts available in Germany may not require a certificate of inheritance in the case of testamentary succession. We will be glad to advise you further in this regard after you have submitted the completed questionnaire to the Consulate General Toronto.

Your questionnaire serves as the basis for drafting an application for a certificate of inheritance. We will contact you to arrange an appointment. Please note that the processing of your application may take 12-15 months due to the consistently high volume of estate files that are processed at the Consulate General. Applications for notarizations are processed in chronological order.

In the course of the application, two fees will apply: The German Consulate General Toronto will charge a fee for the preparation of the application including the affidavit. The fee is payable by credit card or in cash. The fee amount depends on the value of the estate and will be communicated to you when you make the appointment.

After authentication, you must send the application, together with certified copies of the required supporting documents, to the competent probate court in Germany. The probate court will charge a separate fee for the issue of a certificate of inheritance.

If you would like copies to be certified during the notarization appointment at the German Consulate General, please bring one photocopy each of the originals with you.

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