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hhvgoetz, Rechtsanwalt, LL.M.
Category: German Law
Satisfied Customers: 2746
Experience:  LL.M. in International Trade Law (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)
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I have been in an on-off relationship with a German citizen

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I have been in an on-off relationship with a German citizen for 15 years. 4 yeasr ago he finally proposed marriage which I had accepted and we made plans to make it official although we have been living together already. All our friends and acquaintances acknowledged me a his wife as he would introduce and call me as such and I had been formally introduced to his parents. 18 months ago, he met an accident. Although he had mentioned to me about his will, unfortunately he never had the chance to tell me where we can find it. All his assets were frozen pending decision in Germany who shall have the rights. He apparently has a son who is living in Canada who is also considered for the inheritance. To make the story short, things are getting complicated and I would like to know, being the recognized common-law partner, do I have a right whatsoever? His father is spending fortune on lawyers and there are people are trying to complicate the matter and we (his sister and me) are worried that it will go to the wrong hands which is against the wishes of myu deceased fiancee. Some say I don't have the right and some say I do. I wish to put an end to everyone's suffering and help to put him at peace by claiming his left assets and divide it to the rightful beneficiaries as he had told me. I also would like to have peace of mind... Whatever assistance or clarification I can have will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.



for the German assets most likely German inheritance law will be applicable.


If there is no last will, you will not be considered.


Thus, it is of vital importance to make sure the last will is found and shall not disappear.

As you know that there is a last will (valid if written by hand and signed), you should state at the local court which will issue the inheritance certificate (Erbschein) that you know about the existence of a last will and don't know where it is.
In Germany, many people will have their last will stored in a locker at their bank. So, if such a locker (Schließfach) exists, it is vital to make sure having it opened in presence of a person of confidence, for example your fiancee's sister if you cannot attend.
How can I help you any more?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Dear hhvgoetz,

Some of our German friends says I have a right being his common law partner. What can I do to prove it? His family recognizes me as his partner and all our friends acknowledge me as his wife.

My question is what I can do as his common-law partner.

A common law partner under German law has no right of succession regarding his or her partner. This may be different if another law is applicable which is not likely but should be checked in detail knowing all assets and where your fiancee has been living.

With you fiancee being only a German national and his real estate assets in Germany, German law will be applicable.


This is why your fiancee should have made a testament and told you where to find it.

I don't understand how your German friends got to the conclusion that common-law partners would have a right under German law.



Customer: replied 3 years ago.
We both live in Dubai for almost 10 years now and his assets are not in Germany: he's got bank accounts in Switzerland and Australia where we plan to migrate and marry. His assets here were also frozen pending who gets the certificate of inheritance. With what you say his assets are in germany hemce german law applies. If he has been living out of germany a long time and his assets are not in Germany, can I claim right?

Generally due to his German nationality (if there is no other nationality), German law ist applicable for the succession, see Art. 25 EGBGB.


However, collision law of the other states you mentioned may cause that parts of the assets follow for example another law. This is particularly relevant for real estate assets,not bank accounts!


This is very complicated to find out and you will need a lawyer knowing the local law where the assets are situated.


If he had real estate in Dubai, you should look for a lawyer knowing Dubai law.


I am sorry, I don't have any idea about the Dubai succession law.



hhvgoetz and other German Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for the information nonetheless. I guess what I can do is to relay to his family your first response about stating in the local court that there is a will he had told me but could not find so in case it is in one of the banks' safety deposit boxes, they are aware and should know what to do about this.