Testamentary Formalities in Germany

Reinhard Zimmermann

in Comparative Succession Law

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199696802
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191732065 | DOI:
Testamentary Formalities in Germany

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This chapter traces the history of the ordinary as well as extra-ordinary will types in German law. It commences with an analysis of private wills in 19th-century Germany and relates the debates surrounding the introduction — at the last conceivable moment and against protracted opposition — of the holograph will into the BGB. Yet, judicial experience with it in the first four decades of the 20th century was anything but encouraging. The problems were solved, eventually, by legislative reform: the Testamentsgesetz of 1938 laid the foundations of the holograph will as it has come to be established as a generally accepted part of modern German law. The chapter analyses the way in which modern courts and writers interpret the form requirements of the holograph will. It then traces the development of public wills, of emergency wills, and of wills made during a sea voyage in German law.

Keywords: succession; law of; wills; form requirements; holograph wills; notarial wills; emergency wills; formalism; signature; will-making

Chapter.  28473 words. 

Subjects: Company and Commercial Law

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