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Source: BUS Sachsen-Anhalt (Linie6PLus)

Waiving an inheritance


If you have become an heir, you must decide whether to accept or reject the inheritance. This applies regardless of whether you inherit on the basis of intestate succession, a will or an inheritance contract.

First find out what assets and debts there are. If you do not wish to accept the inheritance, you must expressly declare the waiver.

It is not sufficient to submit a written declaration. You can declare the waiver of the inheritance to the probate court.

If the inheritance has been effectively disclaimed, the disclaiming party is treated as if the inheritance had never been received.

You are an heir and would like to waive an inheritance.

  • Identity card or passport with registration certificate
  • It is not mandatory to submit the death certificate. If no death certificate is available, you must state the full name (with maiden name), the date of death and the last habitual residence of the deceased person.
  • Indicate minor children as co-heirs: The approval of the family court may be required (information on this can be obtained from the probate court). You must submit the application to the family court responsible for the child's habitual residence. Proof of approval must be submitted to the probate court within the deadline.
  • If a guardian declares the waiver, the approval of the guardianship court is required. Proof of approval must be provided within the deadline for waiver.

The fees for a probate are based on the value of the inheritance .

If the estate is over-indebted, a probate will only incur costs of 30 euros.

  • Six weeks from the moment you learn of the inheritance,
  • If you are appointed as heir by a will or contract of inheritance, the period only begins when the probate court has announced the disposition of property upon death.
  • Six months if the deceased's last place of residence was only abroad


  • you as heir or heiress were abroad when the period began.

The waiver of an inheritance by personal declaration is accepted immediately.

  • You go to the probate court in person and have your declaration recorded in writing.
  • Please note: A simple letter to the competent probate court is not sufficient.


For underage children, only the legal representative can waive the inheritance. The legal representative is the person who has custody of the child). If both parents have custody of the child, they can only waive the inheritance for their child jointly.

Waiver inadmissible after acceptance of the inheritance

In principle, the inheritance can no longer be waived once the heir has accepted the inheritance. In other words, he/she has shown by his/her conduct that he/she accepts his/her position as successor to the deceased. If the heir did not know that the estate was overindebted, he/she may be able to contest the acceptance of the inheritance. The contestation is subject to a time and form limit (6 weeks, declaration to the probate court or the notary). The effective contestation removes the legal consequences of the previous waiver or acceptance. Due to the complicated legal issues involved, it is often advisable to seek legal advice in good time.

Lower Saxony Ministry of Justice

The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

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