Matter involving foreign or international law

 

Especially in real estate law as well as in inheritance law it can be very important for the appropriate structuring of contracts and testamentary dispositions if one or several persons involved have their residence or habitual residence abroad or do not have German nationality.

For example, if foreign spouses intend to jointly acquire real estate in Germany the question has to be answered whether the couple – like German spouses – may acquire the real estate in fractional ownership (Bruchteilseigentum) or whether only kinds of acquiring ownership existing under the laws of their nationality are available, such as the so-called “community property” (Errungenschaftsgemeinschaft).

Regarding the legal succession in case of death all hereditary cases since August 17, 2015 are subject to the EU Directive on Hereditary Law. Under such directive, in principle the hereditary law of such country shall be applied in which the person deceased had his or her habitual residence at the time of death. The EU Directive on Hereditary Law offers however the possibility to choose German hereditary law as applicable law whereby such choice of law needs to be notarially recorded. In case the estate includes real property situated outside of Germany (e.g. a vacation residence in Mallorca) a so-called splitting of the estate can occur meaning that the individual assets forming the estate will be inherited subject to different legal regimes. Also in this case there is an increased need to structure the situation beforehand.

Also in respect of family law and company law an international aspect can have an effect on the structuring of agreements. In the area of family law this is e.g. the case with respect to agreements between foreigners about the consequences of a divorce, in the area of company law in case of the incorporation of a German limited liability company by foreigners or in case of a cross-border merger of companies pursuant to the German Transformation Act.

As I am familiar with these matters and have sufficient command of the English language, I will upon request notarize relevant deeds in the English language or translate them into the English language in case this is needed to comply with legal requirements abroad. This in principle applies to my entire notarial activities.

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