Certificate of executorship

If the testator has appointed an executor for the settlement of his estate, the executor effectively becomes an executor by accepting the office. In order to be able to perform his duties, authorities or banks often require confirmation or proof of the executor's position. The certificate of executorship serves this purpose.


Where do I apply for the certificate of executorship?

Pursuant to Section 2368 Sentence 1 of the German Civil Code, the probate court must issue a certificate of appointment upon request.

The local jurisdiction of the probate court is based on the last habitual residence of the testator before his death (§ 343 FamFG). If the decedent had his or her last habitual residence abroad, the question of the jurisdiction of German courts is governed by the provisions of the EuErbVO.


Who is entitled to file an application?

The executor of the will is entitled to file an application. If several executors have been appointed and have accepted office, each of the executors may file an application. The heirs, on the other hand, are not entitled to file an application.


What is the content of the certificate of executorship?

The certificate of executorship is an official document that legitimizes the executor in legal transactions. It also creates a basis of trust for third parties who have dealings with the executor.

The certificate initially contains the name of the testator and the executor. In addition, the certificate also contains information about the testator's testamentary instructions, which deviate from the statutory provisions of the German Civil Code. In addition, the certificate states the scope of the executor's authority.


What legal effect does the certificate of executorship have?

Pursuant to § 2368 sentence 2 BGB, the provisions on the certificate of inheritance apply mutatis mutandis to the certificate of executorship. With regard to the legal effect of the certificate of executorship, this means that, as with a certificate of inheritance, the presumption of correctness (§ 2365 BGB) and public faith (§§ 2366, 2367 BGB) apply.


What are the costs for issuing an executor's certificate?

The amount of the costs is determined by the Law on Costs of Voluntary Jurisdiction for Courts and Notaries (GNotKG). According to § 40 para. 5 GNotKG, the business value is 20 percent of the estate value at the time of inheritance, whereby estate liabilities are not deducted.


What happens to the certificate after termination of the executorship?

Upon completion or termination of the office as executor, the certificate becomes invalid pursuant to Section 2368 sentence 3 of the German Civil Code (BGB). A separate declaration of invalidity is not necessary.