Death and inheritance matters

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21.11.2019 - Article

Death of a relative

Germany has very strict laws on how to handle human remains. As a general rule, all coffins and urns have to be buried in specially licensed graveyards. Private persons are not allowed to have urns in their possession.
Therefore, all transport in Germany has to be handled by licensed funeral homes. Coffins and urns are best to be shipped by the Singaporean funeral home to a funeral home in Germany directly. Please clarify with the carrier what type of coffin is acceptable for transportation with them. No customs are charged for the import of a coffin/urn which contains the remains of the deceased person into Germany.

Corpse transport permit

Please submit the following documentation:

1. Certificate of death (original and two copies),
2. Embalming certificate (original and two copies),
3. Passport of the deceased (original and two copies),
4. Information on the airline, flight no. and itinerary are entered into the corpse transport permit and therefore have to be given in detail.

The fee for the corpse transport permit will be 25 EUR. The fees will be converted into SGD according to the current exchange rate of the Embassy. You may pay in cash or with credit card (Visa, Master). If you pay with credit card, the transaction will be processed in EUR. Further bank fees may apply.

Urn transport permit

An urn transport permit may be needed to send an urn to Germany. Please have the need for such a permit verified with your airline and receiving funeral home in Germany.
In case you want to ship a metal urn, please verify with the carrier if this is acceptable for shipment as the screening might cause problems. The urn has to be sealed, either through the funeral institute or through the German Embassy in Singapore.

The permit is issued by the German Embassy in Singapore. The following documents have to be submitted:

2. Certificate of death (original and two copies),
3. Certificate of cremation with a confirmation from the funeral home that the urn contains the ashes of the deceased person (urn should be sealed and numbered) (original and two copies),
4. Passport of the deceased person (original and two copies).

The fee will be 25 EUR. The fees will be converted into SGD according to the current exchange rate of the Embassy. You may pay in cash or with credit card (Visa, Master). If you pay with credit card, the transaction will be processed in EUR. Further bank fees may apply.

A Death Certificate can be obtained at the Registry of Births and Deaths:

Registry of Births & Deaths
Citizen Services Centre
3rd Storey, ICA Building
10 Kallang Road
Singapore 208718

Death of a pensioner

When a beneficiary passes away the Pension Authority needs to be informed without delay. It will then discontinue the payments. The information can either be forwarded by the next of kin/executor of the estate or by the German Embassy. The following information/documents are required by the German Pension Authority:

1. death certificate of the beneficiary,
2. date of birth,
3. name and file number of the Pension Authority,
4. name and contact details of the executor of the estate.

You can find the contact details of the Pension Authorities on the website of the German Pensions Insurance. The pensioner is entitled to the pension for the month in which he/she passed away. In most cases the pension payment was made at the beginning of the month/end of the previous month. Pension payments which are made after this time must be paid back to the Pension Authority.

Inheritance matters

General information

In Germany, the heir proves his/her legal right by a certificate of inheritance which is issued by the competent German probate court (Nachlassgericht) upon notarized application. It is normally required by banks or land register if the inheritance includes real estate or bank account(s) in Germany.

How to obtain a certificate of inheritance

1. The applicant has to provide all information necessary in advance, to enable the German Embassy to draft a formal application. Therefore, please use the prepared questionnaire. Please enclose copies of all documents proving the right to inherit (e. g. last will, letters testamentary, death certificates, birth certificates, marriage certificates etc.)
2. The German Embassy will prepare the application document and contact the applicant to set up an appointment for the applicant to appear at the German Embassy and to sign the document in due form. As German is the official language in Germany, the text of the application will be put forward in German only.
If the applicant does not understand German, the consular officer will explain the contents of the paper to the applicant and translate it orally. If he/she wants to have an English translation of the application, the applicant will be responsible for all costs incurred by a translation.
It is necessary that the applicant shows all the original documents of which copies were provided with the questionnaire during this appointment. The German Embassy will notarize the copies, so the Probate Court in Germany receives a complete application with the pertinent documents enclosed.
3. The applicant will receive the original and a first certified copy of the application. The original should be sent to the competent probate court. A certified copy is kept on file by the German Embassy.
4. After having received the application, the probate court will issue the certificate of inheritance and forward it to the person named as recipient in the application.


The German Embassy will charge a fee for the notarization. Fees are based on the value of the estate. The applicant is required to provide detailed information about the value of the estate in Germany. Please contact the land register (Grundbuchamt) in Germany or your lawyer for further details of the value of real property.
The fees will be converted into SGD. You may pay in cash or eith credit card (Visa, Master). If you pay with credit card, the transaction will be processed in EUR. Further bank fees may apply.

The German Probate Court will also take a fee for issuing the certificate of inheritance. These fees are also based on the value of the estate and have to be transferred direcly to the bank account of the Probate Court.

Additional information in restitution matters

In restitution cases, the certificate of inheritance will be issued by the probate court (“Nachlassgericht”) free of charge. However, there is a fee for the notarization of the application at the German Embassy (see above).
The certificate of inheritance will be issued by the probate court free of charge only, if it is sent directly to the German office, dealing with the restitution claim (Landesamt/Amt zur Regelung offener Vermögensfragen, abbreviated: LAROV or AROV). A notarized copy of the certificate however, may be sent to a representative or to the applicant himself/herself.

Declaration of renouncement of succession

According to German law the heirs can declare the renouncement of succession to the German probate court within six weeks after being informed about the case of succession. This period is extended to 6 months, if the deceased had his/her last residence abroad or if the heir is staying outside of Germany.

The signatures on the declaration will, as a minimum requirement of form, have to be certified (signature certification). Both parents (one if it is a case of sole custody) of minor children, have to declare the renouncement of succession on the children’s behalf.

The certification of the signature is the “simpler” form of a notarization (as opposed to the full notarization of a document). By certifying the signature the consular officer confirms that the person indicated in the document signed it in front of him. The signature has to be given in person in the presence of the consular officer or has to be acknowledged in his presence. No advice about the legal meaning of the document to be signed is provided.

The declaration has to be sent directly to the responsible Probate Court.

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