27. Jul 16

Will: Compulsory portion revoked for causing bodily harm

Under a very narrow set of circumstances, it is possible for legal heirs to have their entitlement to the statutory compulsory portion revoked. This is evident from a ruling of the Landgericht (LG) Landshut [Regional Court of Landshut] of March 4, 2016 (Az.: 54 O 2287/12).

GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: It is possible for a testator to completely disinherit a legal heir in a will or contract of inheritance, with the result that the latter is then no longer entitled to the statutory compulsory portion. That being said, this can only happen under a very narrow set of circumstances as a recent ruling of the LG Landshut demonstrates.

In the instant case, a widowed father had three sons. He had designated two of his sons in his will as heirs entitled to inherit equal shares in his estate and disinherited his third son. He also stipulated that the third son should no longer be entitled to receive the statutory compulsory portion. In subsequent notarial wills, the father confirmed his wish that the compulsory portion be revoked. This was due to a physical injury. In addition to a graze, the son was said to have given the testator a bloody nose and a black eye. The father subsequently pressed criminal charges, which he enclosed in the will. Following the death of his father, the disinherited son demanded the compulsory portion from his brothers.

The Landgericht Landshut granted his claim, stating that revoking the compulsory portion is only possible under a very narrow set of circumstances. It went on to say that for this happen the legal heir would have to have committed serious offences against the testator or a person close to him. The Court held that this could not be proven in this case. While the two other sons did confirm the physical injury, they were unable to prove it because the relevant records pertaining to the criminal complaint in question had since been destroyed and could not be used as evidence. The third son was therefore entitled to the compulsory portion.

Revoking the compulsory portion is only possible under a very specific and narrow set of circumstances, e.g. if serious offences are committed against the testator. Having said that, an entitlement to the compulsory portion does not lapse automatically; the testator needs to explicitly and unambiguously mandate in the will or contract of inheritance that the compulsory portion should be revoked and provide sufficient justification for this.

Lawyers who are experienced in the field of succession law can advise on wills and contracts of inheritance as well as ensure that the testamentary dispositions reflect the wishes of the testator.

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