Probate and Estate Planning Lawyer in Germany

Jan-Hendrik Frank is a German solicitor / attorney at law / Barrister (Rechtsanwalt) and bar certified specialist for probate and estate planning (Fachanwalt für Erbrecht). He is the founding partner of “WF Frank & Partner Rechtsanwälte”, a law firm entirely specializing in international probate law and estate planning. Together with US-lawyers and English solicitors from the WF International Network Mr Frank advises English speaking clients with connections to Germany. His practice involves all aspects of probate law and estate planning with a special focus on complex multi jurisdiction estates. He has been a frequent guest speaker and has also authored in the areas of trusts, estate planning, estate administration and estate litigation. 


Support for Estate/Probate Proceedings in Germany

Mr. Frank regularly advises and assists clients acting as executors or trustees of common law jurisdiction (including U.S.A., England & Wales, Singapore, Canada, Australia) with regard to German law.  His services include: 

  • Obtaining recognition of validity from German probate courts for international wills and the issuance of German Letters Testamentary (Testamentsvollstreckerzeugnis) for foreign executors
  • Assistance with obtaining German Certificate of Heirship (Erbschein) for estates of foreign nationals or domiciliaries
  • Providing legal representation for foreign heirs, beneficiaries, executors, administrators and trustees of estate in connection with obtaining assets held by German banks, insurance companies and financial institutions, passing both through or outside of probate
  • Assistance with the preparation and filing of German estate, inheritance, and gift tax returns for German and foreign heirs and beneficiaries to ensure recognition of payments of foreign gift and estate taxes in Germany and deduction of such payments from any German estate, inheritance and gift tax liabilities
  • Representing executors, administrators, heirs, beneficiaries and trustees before German probate courts and taxation authorities, including obtaining tax clearance for the release of German assets passing to foreign heirs and beneficiaries and defending against claims of unwarranted German estate, inheritance and gift taxes
  • Consulting regarding the structuring and timing of distributions from foreign trusts by foreign trustees to German resident beneficiaries to minimize any German inheritance and gift tax liabilities

Support for Estate/Probate Proceedings in Common Law Jurisdictions

Mr. Frank also advises clients in foreign Estate / Probate Proceedings in any questions pertaining to German inheritance law.  His services include Affidavits in Foreign Law (German Law) and Legal Opinions on German law in foreign contentious probate proceedings. 

International Estate Planning

Mr. Frank frequently advises clients from common law jurisdictions in all matters connected with international estate planning, including, but not limited to:

  • Reviewing existing wills
  • Designing and drafting international wills and German testaments 
  • Structuring foreign trusts to avoid or minimize German inheritance tax (Erbschaftsteuer) liabilities
  • Advising on the use of Payable on Death  accounts and the appointment of successor beneficiaries to allow for the transfer of assets outside of probate
  • Advising on foreign estate and inheritance taxes (e.g. Englisch IHT, U.S. federal estate tax, Canadian CGT) and  Double-Taxation Treaties
  • Preparing living wills and health care proxies for foreign nationals / domiciliaries.

Speaking Engagements


Berlin | Head office

WF Frank & Partner Rechtsanwälte
Leipziger Platz 9
D-10117 Berlin

Tel. +49 30 88712381
Fax +49 30 22185555
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Contact details

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Jan-Hendrik Frank
WF Frank & Partner Rechtsanwälte
Managing Partner


Leipziger Platz 9
10117 Berlin

Tel. +49 30 88712381
Fax +49 030 920372321

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