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Comparative Succession LawVolume II: Intestate Succession$
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Kenneth Reid, Marius de Waal, and Reinhard Zimmermann

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198747123

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198747123.001.0001

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Intestate Succession in Germany

Intestate Succession in Germany

(p.181) 8 Intestate Succession in Germany
Comparative Succession Law

Reinhard Zimmermann

Oxford University Press

The German intestate succession rules are based on family succession. The deceased’s family typically comprises his relatives and the surviving spouse. In terms of the relatives who must be taken into account and the way in which they are to be ordered, the parentelic system, in particular, as laid down in §§ 1924–1930 of the German Civil Code (BGB), is generally regarded as satisfactory from the legal policy point of view and comparatively easy to apply in practice. The most problematic feature of the rules is that the idea of family succession has been taken too far: all relatives, however distant, can potentially become intestate heirs, providing they can be found. The state becomes heir only as a last resort, and in order to prevent the estate from becoming derelict. The chapter concludes with some lessons drawn from the German experience regarding the ideological basis of intestate succession law and the shaping of its rules.

Keywords:   German civil law, intestate succession, succession law, German Civil Code, relatives, spouses, German parentelic system, thirty days’ maintenance claim

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