The inventory of estate – what heirs need to be aware of

In some situations, people who have inherited a property will need a complete overview of the testator’s estate. This is provided in the form of an inventory of estate, which can help in the decision-making process as to whether or not to accept the inheritance. But what needs to be taken into account when drawing up the inventory? But what needs to be taken into account when creating it?

Drawing up an inventory of estate is especially advisable when the inheritance includes a large fortune and lots of assets The larger the inherited estate, the more complex and time-consuming drawing up the inventory of estate may prove. This task becomes even more difficult if the deceased has kept few or poorly organised records.

When do I need the inventory of estate?

If the extent of the estate is known and is narrow in scope, no inventory of estate is required. In certain cases, however, there is no way to avoid drawing up this document. It becomes necessary when the testator has nominated an executor to carry out their last will. Once an executor becomes involved, they must provide the heirs with an inventory of estate. The document must also be drawn up when the estate is liable to taxation, as the financial authorities will require an overview of the entire estate. Yet anyone entitled to inherita legal share of the estate can also demand such a document, using it to enforce their claim on the estate. If the testator has bequeathed any debts, creditors also have a claim on the estate. These can include merchants and institutions such as the financial authorities. As creditors of the estate, they too can demand an inventory of estate.

When do I need a notarised inventory of estate?

In certain situations, heirs may need to commission a notary to draw up an inventory of estate. Yet this is merely a categorised list of the estate’s assets. If any heir entitled to a legal share of the estate is not satisfied with a simple inventory of estate, they are entitled under § 2314 BGB [German] Civil Code) to demand a notarised document. This is regardless of whether the heirs have already drawn up an inventory of the entire estate.

Notarised inventory of estate vs private inventory of estate

When drawing up the inventory of estate, the notary cannot rely solely on the information provided by the heirs and are obligated to conduct their own research. To this end, they will contact financial institutions and insurance companies. Drawing up a notarised inventory of estate requires more time and effort. Heirs who commission such a document from a notary must pay for this service. Depending on the value of the estate for which the fees are being established, the costs can be around a thousand euros. A notarised inventory of estate does not include a valuation of the estate.