Community of heirs

The probate court may issue a so-called joint certificate of inheritance for several heirs. Each co-heir can apply for a joint certificate of inheritance.

When a testator dies, he or she usually leaves not just one heir, but several. These heirs become part of the so-called community of heirs at the time of inheritance. The estate is only divided among the individual heirs in accordance with the agreements made after the inheritance has been divided.

In principle, each individual co-heir can apply for a certificate of inheritance with which he or she can prove to third parties that he or she is the rightful heir. If, however, the community of heirs wishes to act jointly and to act vis-à-vis banks, insurers and the land registry, a joint certificate of inheritance is often necessary.

  • Your identity card or passport,
  • the death certificate of the deceased person (testator),
  • the family register to document your relationship,
  • information on whether there is a lawsuit concerning your inheritance,
  • names and addresses of co-heirs,
  • evidence of the reasons why certain persons who would actually inherit are no longer heirs, for example, their death certificates, letters testamentary or declarations of renunciation of inheritance,
  • if applicable, wills or inheritance contracts,
  • the matrimonial property regime (in the case of married couples) or the property status (in the case of registered civil partnerships).

Forms are not required.


There are co-heirs and they would like to apply for a joint certificate of inheritance.

Related Links

  • §§ 2353 2370 Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch (BGB)

After you have applied for the certificate of inheritance, the local court checks the eligibility and issues the certificate of inheritance.

Responsible for the content
Ministry of Justice of Lower Saxony

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