MMag. Maximilian Höltl

Lawyer for inheritance law in 1010 Vienna and Krems an der Donau

Free Initial Consultation


Advice on all aspects of Austrian inheritance law

You are looking for legal advice in matters of inheritance law, in drafting a will or a legacy, in making a precautionary transfer of assets during your lifetime, in probate proceedings or in legal inheritance disputes?

I advise my clients throughout Austria and beyond, especially in Vienna and Krems an der Donau, on all matters of inheritance law.

It is my personal desire to guide my clients safely through the sometimes complex regulations of Austrian inheritance law and to find the best solution for them in every situation.

Attorney at Law for Inheritance Law / Advice on Inheritance Law in Austria, especially in Vienna and the surrounding area

Scope of services

My services in the area of inheritance law include among others general advice on inheritance law, the preparation of wills and legacies including registration in the register of wills, advice on the precautionary transfer of assets, representation in probate proceedings, the examination and enforcement of your claim as well as the defense against claims in inheritance law matters, representation in legal inheritance disputes, representation of heritages, beneficiaries of a compulsory portion and legatees as well as advice on the law on compulsory portions.

Wills and Legacies

I advise my clients on wills and legacies, which allow the testator to dispose of his assets during his lifetime in the event of his death. By means of a will, one or more persons can be appointed as heritages who, as universal successors, assume all the rights and obligations of the deceased. The other legal heritages who were not appointed as heritages in the will are reduced to the so-called compulsory portion by way of the appointment of certain heritages in the will. Under certain (strict) conditions, it is also possible to deprive the respective beneficiary of the compulsory portion in the will, i.e. to disinherit him or her, or to reduce the compulsory portion again by one half. Furthermore, it is possible to allocate individual items to specific persons either in the will or in a separate legacy. Registering the will in the register of wills and depositing a copy of the will with your lawyer ensures that the will will be found and taken into account.

Daily practice shows that inheritance matters cannot be settled early enough. If the deceased dies without having made a will in advance and if there are substantial assets in the estate, disputes among the heritages are often unavoidable. The statutory provisions that apply in the absence of a will are often not suitable for adequately reflecting the last will and testament of the decedent.

precautionary transfer of assets

The so-called precautionary transfer of assets aims at dividing the existing assets among the persons selected by the owner during his lifetime, which usually happens on the basis of gifts. The Austrian legal system provides for various legal instruments that serve to secure the interests of the gift giver. If a property is given as a gift to the children or another person, it is possible, for example, to reserve a lifelong right of residence or a right of usufruct for the donor, to prevent further disposals of the property during the lifetime of the donor by means of a prohibition of sale and encumbrance, to grant the donor a right of first refusal or to provide the donor with a regular payment by means of a life annuity entered into the land register. A compromise between the disposition of assets in a will, which can be revoked at any time, and the generally irrevocable immediate gift during one’s lifetime is the gift on death, which is irrevocable but only takes effect upon death.

Gifts of Austrian real estate or apartments trigger real estate transfer tax and registration fees are incurred for the registration of the right of ownership in the land register. For gifts within the family, there are certain reductions that reduce these taxes and fees to a reasonable level. The basis for such dispositions is usually a gift or transfer agreement, which governs the reciprocal rights and obligations in detail. In the case of gifts during the lifetime of the deceased, it must be taken into account that under certain circumstances these can be counted against the inheritance or the compulsory portion and can therefore lead to a result not desired by the testator. The desired legal consequences can be ensured by waivers of the inheritance and the compulsory portion.

probate Proceedings

Generally inheritances are handled within the framework of probate proceedings, which are usually conducted by the respective competent notary on behalf of the court. The probate procedure begins with the recording of the death, in which context the notary records information about the persons entitled to the inheritance and the existing assets and liabilities.

Heritages and beneficiaries of compulsory portions have different rights during the probate proceedings. For example, beneficiaries entitled to a compulsory portion have the right to request an appraisal of the estate and the drawing up of an inventory, to request information about gifts from the estate, heritages and gift recipients in connection with the addition of gifts, and to request information about the deceased’s assets from the estate or heritages. The heritages have the right to use, administer and represent the estate after the declaration of acceptance of the inheritance has been made. Upon request, the court commissioner shall issue an official confirmation of the power of representation.

The notary as court commissioner is also subject to further obligations, such as the safeguarding of the estate, if, for example, there is a risk of property being seized or the heritages or close relatives are not able or willing to take custody of the assets. Also, the court commissioner shall conduct those surveys to determine the assets belonging to the estate. If the court commissioner fails to fulfill his or her obligations, a corresponding application may be filed with the court, which is responsible for supervising the notary’s activities, to have the obligations fulfilled.

The heritage or heritages may make their declaration of acceptance of inheritance conditionally or unconditionally. Depending on this, the heritage is liable without limitation or only up to the amount of the assets of the estate. In the case of a conditional declaration of acceptance of the inheritance, it should be noted that this is in any case associated with a possibly cost-intensive inventory of the assets. In the case of conflicting declarations of acceptance of inheritance, for example if several persons declare themselves to be heritages of the entire estate, the court commissioner must first try to achieve an amicable solution. If this is not possible, then the court decides within the framework of probate proceedings and thus establishes the right of succession of the entitled persons and rejects the remaining declarations of succession.

The probate proceedings offer the possibility of dividing the assets available in the estate among the heritages within the framework of a so-called agreement on the division of the estate. In the absence of such an agreement, several heritages become co-owners of the bequeathed assets on a pro rata basis. The cancellation of such a co-ownership community may be sought on the basis of a partition action. The probate proceedings end with a court decision.

legal inheritance disputes

If claims under inheritance law are disputed by the parties involved, they can be asserted either in the course of proceedings to determine the right to inherit or in civil proceedings.

If one of the parties claims a better right of inheritance during the probate proceedings (for example, due to an invalid will), such party may start a proceeding to establish the right of inheritance. The invalidity of wills can result, for example, from the lack of external form or authenticity of the will as well as the testamentary incapacity or deficiencies in the will of the deceased. In the proceedings for the determination of the right to inherit, the applicant seeks the determination of his or her right to inherit.

After the decree of inheritance has been issued by the court, claims under inheritance law can only be asserted by means of an action for inheritance. The inheritance action seeks the restitution of the estate’s assets and may be combined with an application for a sworn statement of assets. If, in the absence of an agreement on the division of the estate, the heritages are given a share in the estate and thus become co-owners of, for example, a property, the action for the division of the estate makes it possible to set aside this joint ownership.

If the beneficiary of the compulsory portion has not received what he or she is actually entitled to, then he or she has a claim against the heritages for payment or supplementation of his or her compulsory portion. This can be asserted by means of a compulsory portion action. If claims to a compulsory portion are impaired by gifts from the deceased, the beneficiary of the compulsory portion may, under certain circumstances, be able to bring an action for a compulsory portion against the donee, according to which gifts are to be added to and taken into account in the calculation of the compulsory portion. An action to enforce a legacy can be used to assert a claim for the fulfillment of a legacy.

law on compulsory portions

If the deceased has appointed one or more heritages by means of a will or a contract of inheritance, the other parties who would have inherited if the will had not been made shall be entitled to the so-called compulsory portion. This amounts to half of the statutory share of the inheritance and takes the form of a claim against the heirs in money. In principle, the right to a compulsory portion cannot be revoked and, if necessary, is enforced in court by means of an action for a compulsory portion.

The beneficiaries of the compulsory portion are either the descendants or the spouse or registered partner. Other statutory heritages have no right to a compulsory portion.

The claim to a compulsory portion can be covered either by a gift of assets or in money. This claim can be satisfied with an inheritance, a legacy or a gift on death or inter vivos.

Since the rights of the beneficiary of the compulsory portion in probate proceedings are not always sufficient to determine the value of the estate, the beneficiary is entitled to a so-called manifestation claim, by means of which the value of the estate can be ascertained. Furthermore, the beneficiary of the compulsory portion has the right to demand the addition of gifts. Otherwise, it would be easy to reduce or thwart the right to the compulsory portion by making gifts during one’s lifetime.


Free initial consultation and fair conditions

I will be happy to answer your first questions in the context of a free initial consultation. We will discuss the facts of the case and ideally I will be already able to provide you with an initial assessment of the legal situation and a recommendation on how to proceed.

I offer you a fair and transparent fee solution adapted to your individual needs. The following alternative billing options can be considered:

hourly rate
lump sum agreement
attorney rates according to the RATG
legal costs insurance

We will have the chance to discuss these options in more detail during the first meeting.

You can reach me by e-mail, phone or with the following contact form. You may also send documents via the contact form or by e-mail to me. I will revert to you as soon as possible.

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    Maximilian Höltl

    Attorney at law

    Principal office:
    Zelinkagasse 6/6, 1010 Vienna

    Schillerstraße 13/1, 3500 Krems an der Donau

    M +43 660 311 72 27