"My aim is to combine outstanding legal advice with support, understanding and compassion."
- work philosophy and professional approach -
Thanks for dropping in. You are welcome!
Do you need legal advice and support in an English-German or International inheritance case or maybe in an English- German or International family law case?
Are you looking for my expertise in drafting and negotiating English-German or International contracts?
I would be pleased to support you with my considerable experience.
For over 25 years I am supporting individuals and families to come through a time of bereavement by supporting effectively and empathically with all matters of Last Wills and Testaments, Estate administration, Inheritance Tax in the Uk, Germany and International. I am also experienced with planning of Last Wills and Testaments in regard of Internationale Estates.
Ending a marriage is a stressful situation and going to court for all matters may not make it more easy. Therefore, it would be worth to try to get an out of court solution of many matters by divorce agreements, maybe by mediation. With me you can try to get a complete solution with lower costs than in several court procedures. I would be happy to be your empathic and experienced guide. My clients describe me as most helpful for them.
Drafting and negotiating International business contracts in English and German is very important for successful International business and, I would be very pleased working for you and your specific needs. My professional experience of many years will be significant for your success.
Furthermore, I am able to make a qualified translation of your English documents and contracts into German.
Please, have a look how my clients describe my work:
1....firstly I'd like to thank you and your colleague for your fantastic and very professional work. I will notify my welfare office on camp and highly recommend your services to military colleagues of mine.
2. My Ex wife and myself are taking holiday to Spain together with my son so the situation is very healthy and most importantly my son is very happy.
19.02.2016 and 09.03.2016; Lee P.
(divorce in Germany with joint custody)
3. However what I can say by putting into print the thoughts that had been interfering with my life in the past, and have others who actually read them, has enabled me to clear my system and move forward. Thank you again for your assistance. Alles gute fuer die Zukunft!
21.02.2017 Ian M.
(divorce and financial agreement in Germany) He recommended me to his millitary colleagues.
4. Once again you have been amazing and with your help over the last couple of years my son A. has doing amazing. Thank you so so much.
07.03.2017 Russell M.
(English divorce in Germany with sole custody for my client) He recommended me at NAAFI
On my page "home" you can read several other testemonies of my happy clients, but in German.
I am a Lawyer for English and European Law, a Mediator and Collaborative Lawyer and practising in my Law Office for English and European Law since 15.02.1994.
You can talk in English with me, I am a fluent English speaker.
My Law Office is based in Oerlinghausen, North-Rhine Westphalia, near Paderborn Sennelager, Bielefeld and Herford, easy to reach by train & bus or by car, but my law office is virtual and we can communicate in virtual ways.
During the British Armed Forces stay in Germany, I was highly recommended from HIVE and listed by Her Majesty's Consul General in Düsseldorf for North-Rhine Westphalia.
C. Some helpful articles for my clients in regard of divorce law, inheritance law, Brexit etc. ...
...but firstly, a foto. My Law Office is based on the left side
Going for divorce in a foreign country/Germany
Generally, you may feel, that it could be more difficult in a foreign country to go for divorce than in your home country. So, you might seek for some guidance. Please feel free to get in contact with me.
Inheritance in Germany
Life is amazing, but finally our ways on earth will have an end.
I. When your next of skin, a relative and loved one has passed away, you will find yourself in a time of extreme grief and sadness. Furthermore, a lot of legal aspects have to be cleared.
If you live in England or Wales and for example your grandpa died in Germany, you would like to have legal guidance in Germany.
II. Therefore, here comes a short list of important questions, which you might bare in mind before starting any procedure:
1. Are you the next of skin, who should take care of the situation? Are there any other persons, e.g. other relatives or a professional Guardian, who should be involved?
2. Is there any English or German Last Will and Testament of the Deceased?
3. Did the Deceased has given his Last Will and Testament to a court in Germany for safe deposit?
4. Did the Deceased deposit any cash at home in any unusual place? Many of my clients make the experience, that they find a lot of cash in the home of the Deceased, f. e. in old small cupboards etc.. So, don't let other people empty the house of the Deceased before you carefully have looked through it. Elder people like to keep even high amounts of cash at home.
5. Did the Deceased have any property in England or Wales and/or Germany?
6. Did the Deceased have any bank account in UK, Germany, Isle of Man or somewhere else?
7. Did the Deceased apply for an update of the Land Registry after any earlier death of a joint owner of his family home? Many old couples, who have houses in joint ownership, don't want any change of the Land Registry after their spouse has passed away. They just don't want the name of the beloved but deceased spouse been deleted from the Land Registry. In case that you inherit after the last Deceased, you would have to clear the first inheritance as well, for example the inheritance of your grandpa from his spouse, who died ahead of him. These cases can even be a little bit more complicated, because there might have been other beneficiaries of your grandma as well, who did not apply to get their part of this first inheritance, but want to have their part of the former and rest Estate now.
8. Did the Deceased pass away without any Last Will and Testament? Who else are his next of skins and where do they live?
9. Did the Deceased suffer of dementia or similar diseases?
10. Who has to pay for the funeral of the deceased?
11. Are there any other financial obligations of the deceased, which you should think about?
Please, don't hesitate to get in touch with me when you get the information of the death of your next of skin in Germany and I will successfully guide you through the whole situation, I will give you my legal advices, will apply for a Grant of Probate (Erbschein) for you, supervise the calculations and distributions of the Estate in Germany, England and Wales, the Channel Islands etc..
Inheritance in England and Wales
Furthermore, I can give legal advice and guidiance when the Deceased has left assets in England or Wales and you are living in Germany. It can be a very complicated procedure of inheritane and, you would be happy to have an expert as I am on your side.
We have to live with the changes by Brexit and therefore, you might expect some explanations, thoughts and information from me.
Here it comes, some articles on this subject:
EU Withdrawal Bill
13.11.2017 (BBC News)
The Government's EU Withdrawal Bill aims to ensure that European Law will no longer apply in the UK after the Brexit. The so called “Great Repeal Bill” or shorten “Repeal Bill” has reached committee stage in the House of Commons but hundreds of attempts of MPs to change its wordings are expected.
The Repeal Bill will repeal the 1972 European Communities Act, which took Britain in the EU and ment, that European law took precedence over law, passed in the UK Parliaments. The Repeal Bill will end the power of the European Court of Justice in the UK.
All existing EU Legislation will be copied across into domestic UK law to ensure a smooth transition on the day after Brexit.
The UK Parliament can then amend, repeal and improve individual laws as necessary.
The bill is likely to be one of the largest legislative projects ever undertaken in the UK. It presents a unique challenge, because the body of EU law is found in a number of different places, and in a number of different forms. Simply transposing all EU law into UK legislation will not be enough, the government's White Paper on the bill says.
Not all can be done through the repeal bill, so the government plans to create powers to “correct the statute book wherever necessary” - without full Parliamentary scrutiny. This power – known as the Henry XII power – is the one of the most controversial features of the bill.
The government estimates that 800 – 1,000 measures called statutory instruments will be required to make sure the bill functions properly.
Until the UK actually leaves, EU law will continue to apply.
After leaving, the European Union (Withdrawal) Act (as it will be by then) comes into force.
Then begins the long-term process of the government and Parliament choosing, what they want to do with the laws, which has been incorporated from the EU.
The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 has passed parliament and therefore the UK left the EU on 31st of January 2020. Under the negotiated withdrawal agreement, the UK-EU relationship has entered a transition period from 1st of February 2020.
During the transition period the EU will treat the UK as if it were a member state; except that the UK will not participate in EU institutions and goverance structure.
The UK-EU transition period will end on 31. December 2020.
Therefore, the UK is leaving the single market on 31. December 2020. A number of areas are still subject to negotiations by the UK and the EU.
During this time for example, you can continue to live, work and study in the EU broadly as you did before 31. January 2020. If you are resident in Germany at the end of the transition period, you will be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement and your rights will be protected for as long as you remain registered in Germany.
The Brexit has been finalized on 01.01 2021. There are a lot of changes and challenges, but also new chances. Let's make the best of it!
Last not least ein Kommentar auf deutsch:
Mit dem Brexit sind die Briten nicht weg oder so. Im Gegenteil: Der Inselstaat erfindet sich neu und hat die Chance, zum einem neuen Taktgeber Europas zu werden, meint zum Beispiel der Wirtschaftswissenschaftler Daniel Stelter.
a. Child Maintenance in Germany.
The amounts have been adjusted according to the Düsseldorfer Tabelle, which started on 01.01.2021. Further amendments are under review.
b. Non-Default divorce in England and Wales
The relevant Act was passed in June 2020 and since, the governement is working on the needed implementation. It is expected to start in Autumn 2021.
The new legislation will:
- replace the 'five grounds' of the old divorce law with a new requirement to provide a statement of irretrievable break down of the marriage,
- remove the possibility of contesting the divorce,
- introduce an option for a joint application for divorce,
- the language of law will be in plain English, for example 'decree nisi' will be called 'conditional order' and 'decree absolute' will be called a 'final order'.
These changes will also apply to the dissolution of a civil partnership.
No-fault divorce won't come into force in 2021, government concedes. (08.06.2021: The Law Society Gazette)
Couples seeking for a no fault divorce under the new legislation will have to wait until 2022, the governement has confirmed.
The implementation of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act will come into force on April, 6, 2022, not in October as the government had originally planned.
Prenuptial Agreements - Eheverträge
1. What is a prenuptial agreement?
A premarital or prenuptial agreement (also known as a pre-nup) is a formal written agreement between two partners prior to their marriage.
It sets out ownership of all their belongings (including inventory of money, assets and property) and explains how it will be divided in the event of the breakdown of their marriage.
Furthermore, it can include clauses in regard of outstanding debts or in regard of assets for children of former marriages etc..
2. Are prenuptial agreements legally binding in England and Wales?
In the year 2010 a change happened and Judges stated for the first time the opinion, that a prenuptial agreement could be enforceable under English law. The well-known case of Radmacher v. Granatino made the difference and formed the precedent of new case law.
The German heiress Katrin Radmacher and the French investment banker Nicolas Granatino married in the year 1998 in England. They signed a prenuptial agreement. This agreement was meant to protect the fortune of £106m of Katrin Radmacher. It was stated in their prenuptial agreement, that neither party would benefit financially if the marriage ended.
However, while British courts since this remarkable case generally can recognize prenuptial agreements, they still have the discretion to waive any prenuptial or even any postnuptial agreement, if it is unfair. Especially, if it is deemed to be unfair to any child of the marriage.
3. Why should we sign a prenuptial agreement?
A prenuptial agreement provides a clear valuation in regard of financial aspects and this will lead to peace of mind for both parties.
There are several reasons why you might think to get a prenuptial agreement. Here you can find some examples, hopefully for your better understanding:
a. There are assets or property which would be hard to split 50/50.
b. You and/or your partner have children from a previous relationship and want to ensure that certain assets are reserved for them and their inheritance right are protected (Please, don't forget to make a Testament and Last Will for the same reason!).
c. You want to protect inherited money or assets.
d. You want to safeguard substantial savings or expected future inheritance.
e. You own a business, which you would like to retain control of.
f. You want some say in how financial issues should be resolved in the event of marriage breakdown, especially when you have suffered unfairness in previous divorce procedures.
g. If your partner has outstanding debts, a prenuptial with a 'debts clause' can protect you from being liable for that debt.
4. What happens to the assets when the marriage without a prenuptial agreement ends in divorce?
The starting point for the division of all assets and property of the parties will generally be an equal split of 50/50. Courts in the UK see the role of the economic provider and the role of the child carer/home-maker as of equal value to the welfare of the family.
All assets and property before the marriage are generally taken into consideration as well. This is a huge difference to the family and divorce law in Germany.
In some cases an equal split 50/50 may feel unjust.
5. Your private check-list for an appointment for legal advice in regard of a prenuptial agreement
Please, take it as a general list. It cannot replace any legal advice in any case!
When a court has to consider, if a prenuptial agreement is fair and should be upheld, they will look at several aspects. It is especially important, if both parties understood the content of the prenuptial agreement properly and if the parties have had enough time to review it before signing.
6. Check-list for you:
a. To comply with English Law, the prenuptial agreement has to be drawn up by qualified lawyers or solicitors.
b. Both parties must have separate lawyers or solicitors to avoid any claim of conflict of interest
c. Both parties must fully understand the agreement and voluntarily agree to it.
d. Both lawyers or solicitors must confirm that the agreement was entered into freely and knowingly.
e. The prenuptial agreement should be signed at least 21 days before the marriage.
f. All assets and property must be fully disclosed by both parties
Disclaimer: While every effect has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in the article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. I do not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.