A campaign to make English and Welsh intestacy laws match those of Scotland – where extended family can benefit from inheritance, rather than it passing to the Crown – has been launched by IAPPR Chair, Danny Curran.
At present, those who die intestate in England and Wales will typically see their assets pass onto immediate rather than extended family – which is the case in Scotland.
Danny Curran commented: “English and Welsh families are missing out on potentially life changing inheritances, simply because the law cuts them off. Socially, families are getting smaller rather than larger as time passes, which compounds the problem of there being no next of kin in priority to the Crown, according to the Intestacy law in England & Wales. Therefore, we don’t believe this is fair and feel we should simply copy Scottish intestacy law which supports sharing an inheritance with more extended family members when the closer family has died out.
To accompany the campaign Danny has launched a Government petition and is lobbying relevant ministers to raise awareness of the issue.
Members of IAPPR and the wider legal industry who support this petition are advised to register at the following website:
Of course, IAPPR is an international organisation and the law of succession differs not just between countries but also between the states of the USA. We have included some links below but for further advice please contact an IAPPR member.
The German intestate succession law is part of the Civil Code. The link leads directly to the correct section and the text is in English. Important: “The translation includes the amendment(s) to the Act by Article 4 para. 5 of the Act of 1 October 2013 (Federal Law Gazette I p. 3719). Translations may not be updated at the same time as the German legal provisions displayed on this website”
European Court of Justice: Reported by Jan Mathias Holstein of GEN
Infringement of Art. 4 of the EU Hereditary Law Regulation by foreign rights certificates, ECJ, judgment of 21.06.2018 – C-20/17,
The ECJ has now ruled on the question of whether a German probate court may issue a German certificate of inheritance in an international succession case if the testator’s last habitual residence was not in Germany on the basis of a referral from the Court of Appeal. In the underlying case, a testator of French nationality had died with his last habitual residence in France and left behind his two sons, inheritance assets in France and Germany. At the request of one of the sons a French certificate of inheritance was issued by the Tribunal d’instance de Saint-Avold, identifying him and his brother as co-heirs at ½ each.
The son then applied for the issuance of a foreign right certificate of inheritance which was objectively limited to the part of the estate situated in Germany and which identifies him and his brother as co-heirs with equal rights. According to the national provisions of the German FamFG, such an exhibition is always possible, among other things, if estate objects are located in Germany. On the other hand, Article 4 of the EU Hereditary Law Regulation (Regulation (EU) No. 650/2012) stipulates that the courts of the Member State in whose territory the testator had his habitual residence at the time of his death have sole jurisdiction for decisions in inheritance matters for the entire estate. The question of whether this regulation on international jurisdiction also includes jurisdiction to issue national certificates of inheritance was unclear and controversial in case law and literature, with the result that the German provisions do not apply. This question has now been answered in the affirmative by the ECJ. Thus, the EU Regulation on the Law of Succession finally regulates the competence for the issuance of national documents.