Tue, Aug. 02, 2005

Possession Vests in Heir

CK - Washington.   Johanna Knapp published at recht-in.de a useful overview of the civil code rules that apply to possessory rights of an heir after an inheritance.

Generally, under German law, an heir steps into the shoes of the decedent. Unlike the laws in the United States which provide for probate and possessory rights vested in an executor or administrator, German law transfers possession of the assets of an estate immediately to the heirs.

The specific point addressed in Knapp's note involves the issues of factual possession, which the heir ordinarily does not acquire immediately--for instance, for lack of knowledge of the decedent's death--, and the issue of factual possession being held by a third party, with or without the permission of the decedent.

Knapp outlines the possible scenarios, available claims and statutory remedies succinctly, as of July 24, 2005. Her starting point is §857 of the Civil Code, Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, as of January 1, 2002, and amended by Art. 1 of the Statute of February 2, 2005, Statute to Amended the Law Governing Names in Marriage and Life Partnership, Federal Gazette I, vol. 201, no. 9, p. 201.

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