Apply for a sole certificate on the basis of a will

If you have accepted your inheritance, you will often need proof of your status as an heir. If you are the sole heir or sole heir according to a will or contract of inheritance, you can apply for a sole inheritance certificate.

The sole certificate will be issued to you by the probate court. It testifies that you are the only person who is the heir, i.e. that you are the legal successor of the testator alone. This is the case if the deceased person has appointed you as the sole or universal heir in the will or contract of inheritance.

With the certificate of inheritance, for example, you get access to bank accounts of the deceased person or you can apply for entries in the land register.

  • Identity card or passport
  • Death certificate of the deceased person, i.e. the testator
  • Information on whether there is a process on your inheritance law
  • Proof of why certain persons who would actually be (co-)heirs are not heirs, for example:
    • Death certificates
    • Declarations of Waiver of Inheritance
    • Declarations of renunciation of inheritance
  • Wills or contracts of inheritance or at least the information on them, for example in the case of special official custody
  • in the case of spouses: proof of matrimonial property regime if applicable
  • in the case of registered civil partnerships: proof of assets if applicable

Online procedure possible:
Written form required: no
Personal appearance required:

  • when applying: no
  • in case of affidavit: yes


Only as a sole inherited can you apply for a single certificate.

  • Information brochure of the Federal Ministry of Justice on inheritance and inheritance
  • Information brochure "Inherit inherit" of the Lower Saxony Ministry of Justice
  • Information brochure "Inherit inherit" of the Lower Saxony Ministry of Justice in simple language

Related Links

  • §§ 2353 to 2370 Civil Code (BGB)
  • §§ 352 to 352e of the Act on Proceedings in Family Matters and in Matters of Voluntary Jurisdiction (FamFG)

You must apply for a sole certificate at the competent probate court (district court):

  • Submit an informal application for the issuance of a sole certificate and attach all the necessary documents to your letter.
  • Alternatively, you can submit the application via an authorised person, such as a notary or a lawyer, or declare it to the court for the record.
  • Personally submit an insurance on oath before the district court or before a notary or before a notary. By doing so, you assure that you are not aware of anything that would prevent the correctness of your information in the application for a certificate of inheritance.
    • This is not necessary if the district court waives it.
    • If a notary notary certifies the insurance on oath, this person can at the same time certify the application for a certificate of inheritance.
  • The district court checks your eligibility and issues the certificate of inheritance.

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Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection

Last update or date of publication