Testament: custody, delivery obligation, opening

A testamentary disposition, such as a will, is filed with the local court during one's lifetime and kept there so that it can be found in the event of death.

If you want to ensure that your testamentary disposition (e.g. your handwritten will) is found and opened in the event of inheritance, you can place it in special official custody. Special official custody at the court also protects your will from forgery or loss. The deposit of a will is also recorded in the Central Register of Wills.

  • Birth certificate
  • Identity card
  • The disposition of death to be deposited

Forms required: No

Online procedure possible: No

Written form necessary: No

Personal appearance required: No. You may be represented or submit the application in writing. However, to avoid further inquiries, the personal appearance is recommended. If you have drawn up the testamentary disposition with a notary public, he or she will usually make the necessary arrangements.


  • Request by the testator that his or her disposition of property upon death be taken into special official custody (as a rule, it is advisable to appear in person at the probate court; however, a written request or representation is also possible).
  • If the disposition of property upon death was drawn up before a notary public, the notary public will generally take the necessary steps.
  • Referral to the competent probate court, § 344 FamFG.
  • Proof of identity by presentation of identity card and birth certificate.
  • Presentation of the testamentary disposition to be deposited.


In certain cases, special official custody is also arranged by a third party if you so wish, e.g. when drawing up a notarial will or inheritance contract. In this case, the notary will ensure that the document is placed in special official custody.

Related Links

  • § 2248 Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch (BGB)
  • § 344 Familienverfahrensgesetz (FamFG)
  • §§346, 347 des Gesetzes über das Verfahren in Familiensachen und in den Angelegenheiten der freiwilligen Gerichtsbarkeit (FamFG)

If you wish to file a disposition of property upon death yourself, it is advisable to proceed as follows:

  • Please contact the probate court that has jurisdiction over you and make an appointment.
  • In addition to the disposition of property upon death, please also bring your birth certificate and your identity card to the appointment.
  • After the deposit has been made, you will receive a certificate of deposit as proof that the deposit has been made.
  • Later you will receive an invoice for court costs.

Responsible for the content
Ref. II 3, JM NRW

Last update or date of publication