Property ownership and inheritance law are not always easy. Weigh up the legal and financial consequences of deaths early on. An overview.

You have been living harmoniously with your husband in a beautiful house for many years. But suddenly your husband dies of a heart attack and you realize that you are not registered in the land register. What now?

Legally, you are not automatically the owner of the property. We explain what happens next according to legal inheritance or special testamentary provisions.

The surviving spouse generally has a legal right to inherit. The following must be taken into account:

With a clear testamentary provision, uncertainties can be avoided. The inheritance is clearly defined and you as a widow or widower are protected.

As a wife, you are not listed in the land register, but you have to mourn the death of your husband. What happens to the property depends on the answers to the following questions:

Usually there is a community of heirs if the husband dies and the wife is not registered in the land register. Ultimately, only mutually agreed arrangements can be made.

By looking at the land register, you can find out about the legal status of your property or house. This will answer the question: “Who inherits if spouses are not listed in the land register?”

As a widow, you have a legitimate interest in accessing the property, which is required in Germany. To be on the safe side, present your marriage certificate, death certificate and your identity card. You can request copies of the land register at any time for a fee.

Your husband dies and you as his wife are not listed in the land register, or vice versa? An existing will would be helpful so that you as a widow can, among other things, keep your co-ownership share. The so-called Berlin will, written during your lifetime, could identify you as the sole heir. You can read what a Berlin will is here.

If there is no will, marriage contract or inheritance contract, a complicated situation arises. Since only the deceased was listed in the land register, a community of heirs could form. This can decide, among other things, whether you can continue to live in the property you jointly live in.


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