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German-American Succession Cases

The consultation on international succession cases and on international successions is one of the priorities of our specialist law firm for inheritance law. The highest percentage of these relate to inheritances of our German clients in the USA or to heirs from the USA who inherit assets in Germany, namely to German-American Succession Cases.

What kind of Experience with German-American Succession cases does the law firm have?

German-American succession cases account for a major part of our international consultation activity in the field of inheritance law. With numerous mandates, we could gather profound and long-term experience with succession cases connected to Germany as well as the USA.

An inheritance in the USA or inheriting from an acquirer who was a resident in the USA are the most frequent cases accompanied by our specialist law firm for inheritance law. We are also familiar with other acquisitions by way of death with connections to the U.S., for example because of special legacies or contracts for the benefit of third parties upon death, each relating to property assets in the USA.

With this wealth of experience, we can create a great added value for our German as well as for our US-American clients when dealing with German-American succession cases and inheritances. The same is true for the expert knowledge of lawyer Dr. Hosser in international inheritance law.

Which kind of Consultation does your Law Firm offer for German-American Succession Cases?

We offer our clients the accompaniment of an inheritance in the USA, together with an American legal advisor on site. In most succession cases with connections to U.S., one of the main issues is to determine the law which is applicable to the concrete case of succession. In the case of decedents who resided in the USA, this is often the inheritance law of an American federal state. In addition, the acquirer of an inheritance in the USA has to understand which consequences this federal state’s foreign law implies.

As a rule, succession cases in the USA the acquirer has to face a completely different system of inheritance regulations and the probate procedures are different from the ones in Germany as well. This does not only apply to the situation the inheritance in the USA shall be dealt with via an Anglo-American trust. We also accompany the transfer of assets to Germany if our Germany based client asks us for assistance.

For our clients from the USA, mostly with heirs residing in the USA, we settle the estate located in Germany or other acquisitions by the way of death, or deal with the legal issues in Germany which come up in German-American succession cases with respect to German inheritance and German inheritance tax law, the EU Succession Regulation and double taxation in the field of German inheritance tax included.

To heirs from the USA, we explain the German probate proceedings – not only in the case of language problems – and the German inheritance law in a comprehensive manner for foreigners. Similar to a German acquirer of an inheritance from the USA, the acquirer in the USA usually neither has any idea of the German inheritance law rules nor about the documents needed by the heir in the USA to take care of the German inheritance. The same is true for other acquirers by the way of death with their residence in the U.S.

Are there Examples for the rich practical experience of Dr. Hosser?

From our long-term practical experience, we do not only know that the USA does not have a single, uniform US-American inheritance law, but that each American federal state has its own inheritance law, whereby the different regulations partially deviate considerably from each other.

Because of the numerous German-US-American cases of succession we also know that there is, for example, a so-called joint tenancy with the right of survivorship, that US-American trusts also underly the law of one single federal state, that there are so-called IRA- and TOD-accounts and we know how to avoid the number of pitfalls when it comes to the settling of estates in the USA as well as the common obstacles with repatriating assets from the U.S. to Germany or for US-American clients to the USA.

Can your law firm settle American estates on your own in the USA?

No, despite our experience and language skills, we cannot be active as lawyers in the USA. But we are nevertheless happy to accompany you with the settlement of the inheritance in the USA. We have vast experience in this kind of accompaniment of the settling of inheritances in the USA.

Thanks to our long-term practice in international inheritance law and the settling of German-American succession cases we have a network of US-American consultants with whom we jointly work on an inheritance case abroad und estate settlements in the USA. These US-lawyers, for example, consult on which official documents are needed in the USA as a kind of “international certificate of inheritance” in order to get the estate settled in the USA.

Please do not hesitate to ask us for a suitable US-lawyer from our network or in how far we can support you in the search for such a consultant.

What should be avoided as regards succession cases in the USA?

We usually recommend our prospective customers not to try to settle German-American succession cases on your own, even if the clients are fluent in English or German, respectively, and are well-versed in business. The issues usually coming up in German-American succession cases are just too complex for legal laypersons without practical experience, amongst others with probate proceedings in a foreign country or with tax aspects. Please ask us, right now, what we can do for you regarding your inheritance in the USA.

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Dr. Marcus Hosser TEP (Trust and Estate Practitioner) – Specialist inheritance lawyer.
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