How is the German legal succession structured?
If the testator has not written a last will or did not make any orders about his successors, german legal succession has to be consulted. The following is stipulated in §§ 1924 ff. BGB (german civil-law-book)
Initially, the children and other descendants of the deceased are called as heirs of the first order. If there are no descendants, the parents and siblings of the deceased inherit as heirs of the second order. If there are no heirs from this order either, the grandparents of the deceased inherit as third-order heirs.
Within an order, heirs of the same degree have equal rights among themselves. They inherit in equal shares. If an heir has died before the inheritance, his descendants take his place and inherit his share of the inheritance with equal rights.
As you might have noticed, the surviving spouse is not mentioned in this artice. This is because of his special role in german succession. His role is explained in a seperate article.