History of Wills in other jurisdictions: Germany

Germany (as of 1911)

Most of the law will be found in the Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, ss. 2064–2273. A holograph will, either single or joint, is allowed. Other wills must be declared before a judge or notary or (outside Germany) a consul. Two witnesses are required, unless the witness be a notary or the registrar of the court, who is sufficient alone. The formalities may be relaxed in certain cases, such as imminent death, a state of siege, a prevailing epidemic, etc. Descendants, ascendants and the husband and wife, are entitled to compulsory portions (pflicht-teilsberechtigt). But those prima facie entitled may be deprived of their share for certain specified kinds of misconduct. A contract to make any specified testamentary disposition is inoperative. But a contract of inheritance (Erbvertrag) made inter mvos by direct disposition is valid in certain cases and will operate on the death of the contractor. The modes of revocation are much the same as in England (except marriage). But there is one peculiar to Germany, the inconsistency of a will with an Erbvertrag; in such an event the will is wholly or pro tanto revoked.

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