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I am a US citizen. My husband was German. His inheritance in Germany comes to me, but I need a certificate of inheritance. Help!

Seabeck, WA |

The word is "erbsheim" in German. What is equivalent to this so I can send it to Germany? I live in Washington state. We were married over 20 years and lived in the USA.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. They are asking for proof that you are your husband's successor in interest to his assets. Did your husband have a will? Did he have a trust? Did he have any children?

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  2. If you have something from the probate of his estate here, that might work. Unfortunately, I am unfamiliar with German inheritance laws, but my guess is that the closest thing in Washington would be Letters Testamentary issued when his estate here was probated.

    I hope that helps!

    This posting is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice, nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship. For more information, please visit www.justinelderlaw.com.


  3. It is hard to tell what you need without seeing the request that you have received. I can't find "erbsheim," but "erbschein" means inheritance and doesn't seem to describe any particular document as far as I can tell (bear in mind that I know nothing about German law and my German is not very good). You may want to consult with an attorney in Germany. There are plenty of attorneys there who speak English. As the other answers have suggested, they may be looking for either 1) proof that you are entitled to inherit (ie a copy of the will or some proof of marriage or something) or 2) proof that you are the rightful administrator of the estate (Letters testamentary). In either case, many foreign countries will recognize the legality of a particular document only after it has been certified by the Secretary of State's office by affixing an "apostille."

    I am not your attorney. My response is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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