Bequest in Advance

What is a pre-legacy?

A pre-legacy is a bequest granted to an heir (article 2150 of the Civil Code). Accordingly, an heir receives a certain object in addition to the inheritance (in advance), without being counted as part of the inheritance. This special bequest is independent of the position of the heir. A distinction must be made between an advance bequest and a mere division order for the liquidation of the community of heirs. A mere division order is issued according to Article 2048 of the Civil Code if the awarded object to be received by the co-heir is to be credited in full with its value against the co-heir’s share of the inheritance. On the other hand, in the case of an anticipated bequest, there is no set-off against the inheritance share. Therefore, when making a will, it must be clearly expressed what is intended by bequeathing the object. The question is: should the beneficiary receive it in advance, i.e. without proving it, or is there a distribution of the inheritance, i.e. the testator orders which of the co-heirs receives which object. Our Frankfurt inheritance lawyers will be pleased to advise you.

How can a pre-legacy in Frankfurt be arranged?

The formal requirements for a disposition of property upon death apply to the disposition. This means that an order can be made in a will.

Who bears the funeral expenses if there is a pre-legacy?

According to § 1968 BGB, the heir bears the funeral expenses of the deceased. The pre-legacy increases the share of the estate, i.e. it is not taken into account in the apportionment of expenses.

What is the effect of a pre-legacy?

When the community of heirs is divided – the pre-legacy only takes effect in the case of a majority of co-heirs – the anticipated legacy must be allocated in advance financially to the beneficiary without the latter having to credit the value of the object to his share of the inheritance. The remainder is distributed among the co-heirs according to the respective inheritance share. What security does a pre-legacy offer to consolidate the last will and how can a pre-legacy be formulated in the will? To be sure that it is an anticipated bequest and not an order of division, the word anticipated bequest must also be used when expressing the last will. For example, testator E may write that his nephew N is an heir in addition to the legal heirs and that he receives a certain object in advance by way of an advance bequest. As lawyers specializing in inheritance law in Frankfurt, we will competently assist you with the correct formulation.  

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