HG.org Legal Resources

Estate Planning Law Articles

Articles written by lawyers and expert witnesses worldwide
explaining the different aspects of Estate Planning.

How Do You Know if Your Probate Attorney Is Qualified?

What Should I Ask an Attorney that Handles Probate and Estate Planning? Ask about their experience; ask them how many probates have they...

Elder Law and Estate Planning

Today it's more important than every before to plan your estates. People are living longer and thus acquiring more assets, it is imperative that...

BGH: Unworthy of Inheriting in Germany Due to Discontinuation of Life-Sustaining Measures

According to a ruling of the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Court of Justice, discontinuing life-sustaining measures can render the...

Understanding and Defending a Will in California

Probate is a division of the Superior Court of the State of California. The Probate court has jurisdiction over what are deemed “legally...

Disinheritance Only Possible with Will or Contract of Inheritance in Germany

Family disputes can become deeply entrenched and are then no longer capable of being resolved. This can give rise to the desire to disinherit...

A Trap in Romanian SRL Statutes for the Unwary

Most investors and companies that wish to incorporate a company in Romania chose to form a limited liability company (SRL). As Romanian lawyers...

Inheriting and Bequeathing under EU Succession Regulation

Enjoying one’s twilight years abroad is a dream that an increasing number of Germans are pursuing. However, it is important to bear in mind that...

Always Open Mail in Inheritance Cases in Germany

It is particularly easy for disputes to arise in cases involving communities of heirs. Anyone who refuses to accept an official or notarial...

A Trustee’s Responsibilities Administering a California Living Trust

Estate planning clients often have a lot of questions about their obligations as a trustee of their living trust. Where the acting trustee is...

Property Purchase: Investments in Italian houses

Chinese attracted by investments in Italian houses: In the last few years Chinese people have been attracted by investments in Italian houses....

In Italy, the Luxury Market Speaks Chinese

Beijing has recently held the twelfth edition of the Luxury property showcase, Real Estate Luxury Fair, promoted by the Ferretti group and Bank...

OLG Bamberg: Berliner Testament Cannot be Unilaterally Altered in Germany

Spouses that mutually appoint each other as sole heirs in what is termed a “Berliner Testament” (Berlin will) need to be mindful of the binding...

Enhanced Life Estate Deeds in Florida

Enhanced life estate deeds, commonly known as “Lady Bird Deeds” provide a legal mechanism for property to pass automatically to a person or...

Wills, Estates, and Trusts

A person’s estate is comprised of everything you own, including your car, house, bank account, life insurance, personal possessions, and...

Assessing Intention to Prepare a Will in Germany

A prerequisite for an effective will is a serious intention on the part of the testator to prepare one. Assessing any intention to draft a will...

Succession Law in Germany

There are many pressing issues that arise when it comes to succession. For instance, testators have to decide whether they want to rely on the...

Inheritance Tax Reform Must be in Place by June 30, 2016 in Germany

The reforms to inheritance tax need to be in place by June 30, 2016, yet company heirs in particular still do not know what burdens they will be...

OLG Düsseldorf: Will Effective Despite Removal from Official Custody in Germany

If a will is withdrawn from official custody it is deemed to have been revoked according to the law. Having said that, it is possible to contest...

Prerequisites for a Nuncupative Will in Germany

Faced with his imminent death, a testator is still able to prepare a nuncupative will, i.e. a will to which three persons are witnesses....

Rules of Succession in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

What law governs The main source of law in the UAE is Sharia in which all laws are formulated and based on. It is considered a public order.

Heirs According to Shariah Principles of Succession in UAE

Shariah lays down the relations that qualify as heirs following the death of an individual. The deceased's estate can only be transferred to...

Benefits of a Florida Land Trust

A Florida land trust is a legal agreement under which the title of real property is vested to a trustee. The beneficiaries of the trust direct...

What Is Ancillary Probate?

  By HG.org
Ancillary probate is a mechanism of having two probate proceedings going on at the same time in different states. Whether a person’s estate will...

Valid Will Requires Serious Intention to Draft a Will in Germany

For documents to be recognized as a will, it needs to be possible to discern a serious intention to prepare a will. That was the verdict of the...

Grounds for Challenging a Will

Heirs who are disappointed with the content of a will may under certain circumstances be able to challenge the will if they have good cause to...

GmbH Shareholder’s Estate: Passing on Company Shares in Germany

The shares in a GmbH form part of a GmbH shareholder’s estate. Accordingly, it is important to settle early on who the company shares will go to...

What is Florida Probate?

Florida Probate Guide - a discussion of the different types of probate options in Florida.

OLG Hamm: Discernible Intention to Prepare a Will Necessary for Will to be Effective in Germany

In order for a will to be effective, it must be possible to discern a serious intention to draft a will. That was the verdict of the OLG Hamm...

Inheritance of Company Shares in Bulgaria

Aiming to clarify the main points of the procedure for inheritance of company shares under the Bulgarian Commercial law

Four Grounds to Contest a Will

Simply being unhappy with the distribution of assets or the delay of the probate proceeding in general is not sufficient grounds to successfully...

Knowledge Is the Best Weapon Against Uncertainty

As you embrace your life changes and follow the goals you set, we would like to encourage you to include Estate Planning on your list. Most of...

Germany: BGH on Calculating Compulsory Portion Where Estate Includes Property

Calculating an heir’s compulsory portion is challenging if the testator was merely a co-owner of a property. Last year, the Bundesgerichtshof...

Business Succession Planning

Employers ought not to rely on the rules of intestate succession but instead prepare a will.

Business Inheritance in Ukraine

The one of advice would be that business owners, especially if the business is successful, it is necessary to think in advance about the solving...

Grounds and Procedures for Contesting a Will

  By HG.org
A person’s Last Will and Testament declares how he or she wants property distributed upon death. This legal document has great power, and courts...

Rules of Intestate Succession Apply in the Absence of a Will in Germany

Anybody who fails to prepare a will ought to be aware that the rules of intestate succession shall apply. These are not necessarily consistent...

Contesting an Inheritance in Germany Due to Over-Indebtedness of the Estate

An estate not only encompasses assets but also any debts of the testator. It is possible for the acceptance of an inheritance to be challenged...

Contesting a Trust

  By HG.org
While many individuals have heard of contesting a will, a trust may also be contested in certain circumstances. If a trust is successfully...

What is HEBA in the UAE?

In general, Heba is an unconditional transfer of property made immediately and without exchange or consideration by one person to another and...

Inheritance Rules for Non-Muslims in the UAE

Although Article 17/1 of the Civil Code of the UAE provides that it is the law of the deceased that shall govern the inheritance at the time of...

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Berliner Testament in Germany

In a so-called “Berliner Testament” (Berlin will), spouses mutually appoint each other as sole heirs. This is meant to provide the surviving...

The High Court Division's Recent Judgment on Pecuniary Jurisdiction in Bangladesh

In the recent judgment (First Miscellaneous Appeal 218 of 2014), the High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh gave its verdict on...

High Standards Apply to the Hearing of Evidence if Only a Copy of a Will is Available in Germany

If only a copy of a will is available then high standards will be applied to the hearing of evidence before a certificate of inheritance can be...

Having a Plan for Your Family Is the Right Thing To Do

For most people, Estate Planning is a mystery; for others, it’s simply not a priority for the simple reason that there is always time to do it...

Will Needs to be Clearly Dated in Germany

According to a ruling of the OLG Schleswig (Higher Regional Court of Schleswig) from July 16, 2015, if a will is not precisely dated then the...

New EU Succession Law Could Have Serious Implications

The new EU succession law regime has been in force since August 17. The EU regulation concerning succession law could have serious implications...

Possible to Revoke Life Insurance Policy Despite Prior Cancellation in Germany

According to a ruling of the OLG Hamm (Higher Regional Court of Hamm), it is possible to revoke a life insurance plan even after the policy has...

Business Succession: Reform of Inheritance Tax Entails Greater Burden in Germany

The reform of inheritance tax could entail a greater burden on company heirs in the context of business succession than was hitherto thought to...

Switzerland Searching for Missing Account Holders or Their Heirs

Switzerland is searching for missing account holders or their heirs. With several million francs said to be sitting “unclaimed” in Swiss...

Debunking Two Common Florida Probate Myths

People unfamiliar with Florida probate law can make some unfounded assumptions about what happens to debt and property after a family member...

Drawbacks to Berliner Testament

In cases involving a Berliner Testament (Berlin will) or spousal will, the spouses mutually appoint each other as sole heirs. This can lead to...

Germany Berliner Testament Featuring Remarriage Clause

It is possible for children who are appointed as final heirs in a Berliner Testament (Berlin will) to ultimately come away empty-handed. To...

Insolvent Estate in Germany – Heir Liable with His Assets

Assets are not a given when it comes to an inheritance; it is also possible for the estate to include debts. If that is the case, it may make...

What is the “Residue” of a California Probate Estate?

What does residue mean as a legal definition, and how is it important in a California probate lawsuit?

How to Contest a Will or Trust

  By HG.org
A will is considered the final words of an individual and as such, it is given much consideration by the court. Trusts are created during the...

OLG Hamm: Limits to Interpretation of a Will in Germany

To ensure that the “final wishes” laid down in a will can actually be implemented, they ought to be defined in the most detailed manner...

Finding the Right Probate and Estate Attorney

When it comes to dealing with the loss of a loved one, one of the last things that any family member wants to do is call a probate or estate...

OLG Frankfurt: Continuity of a Joint Will Despite Divorce in Germany

It is possible for a joint will to remain valid even after a divorce under certain circumstances. That was the decision of the OLG Frankfurt...

Benefits of a Financial Power of Attorney

Many of our estate planning clients have heard about a Financial Power of Attorney but are not clear as to why they should have one or how they...

Estate Planning: Choosing Per Stirpes or Per Capita Distributions

“Per Stirpes” literally means “by roots or stocks; by representation” and is used interchangeably with “right of representation” by estate...

Every Young Person Should Have an Estate Plan

There is a misconception among the young and single that there is no need for them to have an estate plan - that at this point in their young...

Will And Statutory Compulsory Portion in Germany

The line of succession can be altered by means of a will or contract of inheritance. Going as far as divesting legal heirs of their compulsory...

Study on Inheritances: Three Trillion Euros to be Passed on by 2024 in Germany

Around three trillion euros will be passed on in Germany between 2015 and 2024. That is the finding of a study by the Deutsches Institut für...

What Are the Rules Governing Helpers Receiving Money or Gifts from Their Elderly Patients/Clients?

  By HG.org
It is not unusual for an elderly patient to develop a close and trusting relationship with a health aid or other helper. The patient may wish to...

Effectiveness of a Handwritten Will in Germany

In the absence of a will, the rules of intestate succession come into force. A handwritten will is only effective, however, if it meets certain...

OLG Düsseldorf: Will Drawn Up Prior To Operation Remains Valid in Germany

In its judgment of August 19, 2015, the OLG Düsseldorf (Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf) ruled that a will that was drawn up shortly before...

Contract of Inheritance in Lieu of Will in Germany

A testamentary disposition need not necessarily be laid out in a will. The testator and heir can conclude a contract of inheritance as an...

A House Divided: Avoid Estate Planning Disaster

Your relative's estate plan is a mess - but your family doesn't know this yet. Planning isn't really the problem: there is no planning. And if...

Abused Beneficiaries: Decoding the Language of Probate and Trust Litigation

In California as elsewhere, most people are generally unwilling participants in estate disputes. There's no difference whether the dispute...

Berliner Testament and the Appointment of Final Heirs in Germany

In the case of a so-called “Berliner Testament” (Berlin will), spouses can mutually appoint each other as sole heirs. However, one should also...

Do You Really Want To Be An Executor?

When reading the case of Dueck v. Chaplin 1, I am reminded of an article from the Globe and Mail entitled “Executors beware– it’s not an easy...

A Look at Legacy Planning

Legacy planning is a thorough, comprehensive approach to the estate planning process.

What Is a Constructive Trust?

  By HG.org
A trust is a mechanism in which one person can transfer ownership of certain properties during his or her life of after death. A trust is...

Transfer Real Estate Without Probate With a Lady Bird Deed

A Florida Enhanced Life Estate Deed — also known as the “Lady Bird Deed” because President Lyndon Johnson used one to pass property to his wife,...

When an Acting Power of Attorney Isn’t the Right Person for the Job in Ontario, Canada

A woman felt her Mom’s power of attorney was doing such a terrible job that her Mom’s health was at risk. But that’s the middle of the story....

Wills and Intestate Succession with Today’s Blended Families in Germany

In the absence of a will or contract of inheritance, the rules of intestate succession apply following the death of the testator. This can give...

Testamentary Capacity and Dementia

Increasing life expectancy entails a rising number of dementia-related disorders. As a result, the problem of a lack of testamentary capacity in...

Paying Children to Care for Their Parents in Ontario, Canada?

When children grow up and start families of their own, they remain involved in their parents’ lives to varying degrees. Across Ontario, adult...

Interpreting a Will: Small Details, Large Consequences in Canada

Sometimes, people in second marriages who make wills balance two loyalties. On the one hand there are the children of the first marriage. On the...

What to Consider When Considering An Estate Planning Attorney?

The list of reasons supporting the consideration of consulting with an "Estate Planning Attorney" is long and an important consideration by...

Cyprus International Trust

A Trust is an arrangement whereby a person known as the ‘Settlor’ transfers ownership of property to another person or persons, the 'Trustees’...

Real Or Forged Will? – Ruling of the OLG Karlsruhe in Germany

According to the OLG Karlsruhe (Higher Regional Court of Karlsruhe), if the authenticity of a will is disputed, it may be necessary for...

How to make a Will in China?

It is very professional to make a valid will. People usually think it easy to make just by transcribing their intent on papers. But China law...

Trustbuster – The Rule in Saunders v. Vautier

Trusts are often used to control children and grandchildren from the grave. Sometimes the will-maker (“Testator”) holds back the money until the...

Rights of Lineal Relatives After Adoption

  By HG.org
When a person is adopted, the legal relationship between that individual and birth parents and other individuals is altered. In many states,...

Joint Accounts – Rebutting the Presumption of a Resulting Trust in Canada

Two people own a bank account in joint tenancy. In the ordinary course, when a joint tenant dies, the surviving joint tenant is entitled to the...

Why Would Probate Be Avoided?

Probate is a legal process that serves a purpose, but it comes with some drawbacks.

Cyprus International Trusts Overview

Cyprus International Trusts feature essential regulatory, confidentiality and tax advantages, providing interested settlors and beneficiaries...

Berliner Testament And Supervermächtnis

In cases involving a spousal will or Berliner Testament (Berlin will), the tax allowances of children who are entitled to inherit can...

Inheritance Tax in Cases Involving Bequeathed Properties in Germany

Inherited properties are subject to inheritance tax. This can be a problem if the heirs do not have access to sufficient liquidity. It is...

China Inheritance Law, How to Split Shares of Estate Between Successors?

As more and more Chinese emigrate overseas, cross-border inheritance happens more often than usual. But we find that a lot of people ignore...

What Are My Obligations as Executor?

  By HG.org
The executor of an estate has many responsibilities. This individual may have been named in the will because the decedent placed particular...

Challenging A Berliner Testament

Revoking a joint will (Berliner Testament) enables it to be rescinded. For this to happen, the spouse needs to have received effective notice of...

Leaving Your Things to Friends After Your Death

  By HG.org
When considering your final affairs, you may find there are things that you would like to pass to people outside of your immediate family. In...

Germany: Exemption from Inheritance Tax for Heirs to Property

Heirs can obtain an exemption from inheritance tax if they personally make use of an inherited property. According to a ruling of the...

International Succession Law: Testator’s Place Of Residence, Not Nationality, Authoritative

In cases of inheritance involving a foreign element, it is the testator’s habitual residence that determines which country’s succession laws are...

What Advantages Do Living Trusts Provide?

Many people think that trusts are only useful for the wealthy, but this is not the case.

Inheritance: Asserting Estate Liabilities in Germany

Estate liabilities can be asserted when making an inheritance tax declaration, but only if the debts had already been incurred by the testator...

What Are My Rights as an Executor and Beneficiary?

  By HG.org
Executors and beneficiaries to a will each have rights and responsibilities as promulgated under state law. Both have important roles in the...

Bequests and Relinquishing an Inheritance in Germany

According to the Bundesgerichtshof’s (Federal Court of Justice) ruling of July 7, 2015, a bequest premised on renouncing an inheritance is not...


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