New Zealand and German inheritance law differ fundamentally from each other. German inheritance law, for example, provides that the estate of a person is transferred directly to the heir or heirs upon their death, whereas this is foreign to New Zealand law. Action by the German missions abroad in New Zealand is intended above all in cases in which the deceased, referred to in the German testator, has left property in the Federal Republic of Germany and/or was a German national.
Renouncement of inheritance
According to German law an heir can declare the renouncement of succession to the competent German Probate Court within six weeks - if the heirs are outside of Germany within six months - after receiving knowledge about the inheritance.
If you cannot personally declare the renouncement at the competent German Probate Court, the certification of your signature can also be carried out by the German missions in New Zealand (including Honorary Consuls). After certification of your signature you will have to send the renouncement form to the German court.
Competent court for the acceptance of the renouncement
According to German court regulations (Sec. 343 FamFG) the probate court (“Nachlassgericht”) competent for the proceeding is the court in whose administrative district the deceased had his last residence or stay.
In case a German citizen passes away without residence in Germany, the following court is competent for the proceedings:
If a person without German nationality passed away without residence in Germany, the court in whose administrative district the assets are located is competent. In case there are assets in multiple administrative districts, the court initially approached becomes competent for all assets in Germany.
A renouncement usually involves two separate fees, one charged by the German Mission for certification, another for the probate court proceedings. The fee payable cash at the German Foreign Mission is the equivalent of 20 Euros in NZD according to the day’s exchange rate. The probate court’s fee will depend on the value of the estate.
Form for renouncing an inheritance
Form for renouncing an inheritance for minors
Please also read through the Information about the Certificate of inheritance