How do I write my will?

Record heirs

Indicate legal heirs in our tool. It is also possible to bequeath friends and organisations in the will.

«… my son Peter is a statutory heir» or «… my best friend Regula is a named heiress»

Define beneficiaries

Use our tool to define who should receive which part of your estate. The statutory inheritance entitlements are automatically protected.

«… my son shall receive the minimum – he shall only receive the statutory inheritance entitlement» or «… my wife Jasmin shall receive the disposable part»

Transcribe & deposit the will

Manually transcribe your individual template. Deposit the will.

«… my wife knows exactly where to find my will if necessary» or «… I deposit my will with my lawyer» or «… my will is deposited with the notary»

How can I create
a will according to German inheritance law?

If you do not draw up a will or a contract of succession, your estate will be divided in accordance with the intestate succession. Part of the estate may go to the state. In a will, you can divide your estate however you wish. In order to prevent claims, it is recommended to make proper arrangements by drawing up an effective will.

Record heirs

Who should benefit from your estate? Firstly, clarify your relationship and family situation. Consider whom you would like to benefit, and whether there is a charitable organisation you would like to bequeath. To calculate the statutory entitlements, you can enter all statutory heirs in our tool. Statutory heirs are spouses, registered partners and blood relatives (i.e. parents, grandparents, children, etc.). Only then you can enter additional non-statutory heirs (so-called “named heirs”) such as friends or organisations.

Define beneficiaries

In the second step, you determine who from the statutory and named heirs shall receive which share from the estate. In the first diagram, our tool shows you who would receive how much according to the intestate succession if you do not create a will. You can use the ruler to determine the shares. Our tool helps you to draft up a will in compliance with the statutory inheritance entitlements. For example, descendants always receive at least 50% of the estate You can dispose of the disposable part – it is that part of the estate that is not subject to the statutory inheritance entitlement. If you decide to bequeath an organisation, it will be listed as legatee (What is a legacy?).

Transcribe & deposit

In a third step your template will be created. You can easily download it as a PDF and review it. Next, you have to manually transcribe your will from the template. Your will must be written by hand from beginning to end Sign the handwritten will by hand, and state the date. Only then is your testamentary disposition valid. Deposit your will with a confidant, a lawyer, or with your commune/a location designated by your commune.

Three steps to a
to the free will:

  • A will template tailored to meet your needs
  • Draft up a will in three steps
  • Intestate succession and statutory entitlement

Frequently asked questions

What are the various forms of wills?

The testator may make his or her will in the form of a public deed or in holographic or oral form. All three types are regulated in the Swiss Civil Code. A holographic will must be written in the testator’s own hand from start to finish (including the indication of the day, month and year on which it is drawn up) and be signed by the testator. The public testamentary disposition is made with the assistance of a notary. Where the testator is prevented from using any other form of will by extraordinary circumstances (e.g. imminent risk of death), he or she is entitled to make a will in oral form. The oral will ceases to be valid 14 days after the extraordinary circumstances have ceased to exist or retains its effect if the latter persist.

Which form of will suits my situation?

Usually a holographic will is sufficient. Yet, in complex cases or where there are doubts whether the testator is capable of judgement at the time of drafting up the will, a will by public deed – with prior clarification of the capacity of judgement – can be useful. Otherwise, a holographic will Notarial deeds are not “more” valid, the issuance of a certificate of inheritance is not required for a notarial will. If you are not sure which form suits your needs, seek professional consultation.

When is a will invalid?

The BGB lists the following grounds for invalidity: formal deficiencies (e.g. no handwriting in the case of a handwritten will), no personal creation, lack of testamentary capacity at the time of creation, violation of statutory prohibitions, immorality, a previous binding joint will. In addition, a valid will, can be revoked or contested under certain conditions.

Can I freely dispose of my estate in my will?

Yes and no. You can freely dispose of the disposable part. The heirs who have a statutory inheritance entitlement enjoy certain protection. In order to avoid any claims, you should consider the statutory inheritance entitlements of your spouse and children. However, the share that exceeds the statutory inheritance entitlements is at your free disposal. You can, for example, bequeath it to a trustworthy organisation or to a person of your choice. You can find information about various organisations on our website. Calculate the disposable part using the will generator.

Can spouses draw up a common will?

Yes, German inheritance law expressly provides for the form of the so-called joint will. It is formally sufficient for one spouse to write the joint will in his or her own hand, and for both spouses to sign and date it. The particularity of the joint will is that reciprocal dispositions become binding after the death of the first deceased, and the survivor can (practically) no longer revoke them.

What is a contract of succession? How does it differ from a will?

A contract of succession is another form of testamentary disposition. Unlike the will, the contract of succession is a contractual agreement between the testator and the heirs. If the heirs consent, statutory inheritance entitlements can be circumvented. The contract of succession must always be authenticated and cannot be changed unilaterally.

Why do certain heirs designate an executor?

The division of an estate on the basis of a will is not always smooth. Jealousy or hurt feelings sometimes make the process difficult. In order to avoid disputes, you can appoint an executor in your will. He or she will ensure that your last will is executed according to your wishes and that the heirs are relieved of the task. The heirs should trust the executor and the latter should be impartial – lawyers or notaries are often appointed for this purpose. The executor’s function is to represent the testator’s wishes and, in particular, to administer the estate, settle debts left by the testator, distribute legacies and divide the estate in accordance with the testator’s instructions or as required by law.