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Inheritance law and tax law from a single source

The structuring of asset succession is a key competence of the lawyers and tax advisors of THEMIS.

Among the portals www.erbegerecht.de and www.erbrechtsinfos.de we are currently preparing comprehensive information on all important questions concerning inheritance law and succession. We will inform you as soon as the portals are online.

We are always available to answer your questions and concerns personally. Our initial consultation in inheritance law is free of charge and without obligation.

We can legally do that for you:

  • Comprehensive advice in all matters of inheritance law, e.g. drafting of wills, gifts and succession solutions
  • Tax optimisation and asset succession planning
  • Support in the event of inheritance, e.g. application for a certificate of inheritance, execution of wills (legacies, compulsory portion, community of heirs, partition orders)
  • Procedural enforcement of your claims
  • Inheritance tax optimisation and preparation of inheritance tax returns
  • Tax valuation of assets, in particular real estate and business assets

This is what we can do for you tax-wise:

  • Tax optimisation of international inheritance cases, e.g. by utilising allowances and realistic valuations
  • Inheritance tax optimisation and preparation of inheritance tax returns
  • Accompanying the succession of the company while structuring the most far-reaching tax exemptions possible

Specialist information / FAQ

The starting point for tax considerations are always the allowances for the heir. Have they already been used or are arrangements necessary? What are the general succession plans?

Gift tax vs. inheritance tax
Gift tax is also regulated in the Inheritance Tax Act, so essentially the same framework conditions apply, e.g. allowances, valuation issues, etc.

Allowances and relationship
First of all, the closer the donor and the donee are related to each other, the higher the tax allowances. The tax allowances apply to all gifts within 10 years, i.e. they can be used anew every 10 years.

Brief overview of the allowances
Gifts from parents to children: 400,000 euros (per parent and child!)
Gifts between spouses: 500,000 euros
Gifts from grandparents to grandchildren: 200,000 euros (if parents of grandchildren are still alive, otherwise 400,000 euros)
Gifts to unrelated other persons: 20,000 euros ("Everyman's allowance")

Additional allowance in the event of death
Spouses receive a special tax-free allowance of 256,000 euros, children up to 27 years of age receive an additional allowance of between 52,000 and 10,300 euros. In addition, there are some special material tax exemptions, e.g. for household effects, works of art and real estate, especially the family home or rented real estate.

Tax exemption as business assets
Business assets are particularly favoured in inheritance and gift tax because they are intended to preserve jobs. These benefits also apply if the other tax allowances have already been utilised or the allowances are exceeded. Business assets include, for example, the assets of a GmbH or a GmbH & Co. KG. In many cases, business assets can be transferred at 100 % tax-privileged. However, they may then be tied up for up to 7 years, i.e. they may not be sold. A so-called payroll regulation often applies, i.e. jobs must be preserved, otherwise the tax concession lapses.

In itself, the Berlin will is quite straightforward and widespread. However, there are some tax risks that should be considered.

The Berlin Will
Today, a "Berlin will" is understood to be a will that initially favours the spouse and only makes the children heirs after the spouse's death.

Several possibilities
The simplest option for the Berlin will also immediately causes tax problems: the spouses then simply write: "We appoint each other as sole heirs. Our children are to inherit in equal shares after the last person to die.

The tax problem: there are initially two cases of inheritance: 1. from the first to die to the second spouse and 2. from the second spouse to the children. If the assets are sufficiently large and the tax allowances between the spouses are exceeded, inheritance tax is due because the allowances for the children (in the first case of inheritance) do not apply or do not apply in full.

Solution for this: a precisely balanced solution using the somewhat more complicated possibilities for "Berlin wills", e.g. including usufruct solutions or by incorporating an advance/succession inheritance.

If an inheritance has already occurred, nothing more can be changed in the will. In this case, the only remaining option is to achieve the greatest possible exemption via the compulsory portions of the children (these are disinherited by default in the first case of succession and have a claim to a compulsory portion).

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