An interesting trail of inheritance

By on July 14, 2014
Christina Rischard

Christina Rischard

Christina (Reinschmidt) Rischard was born on July 22, 1918.

On June 7, 1947 she married Albert Rischard who died on September 4, 1984.

They were both from Fautenbach/Achern Germany and remained there until death. Christina died on January 18, 2013 in her 95th year of life.

She had not made a will but had secured a promise from her nephew, Peter Reinschmidt, that he would handle her financial affairs and act as Executor of her estate. She had lived quite simply in her very old farmhouse and was thought to have relatively little money.

The process of division of her assets followed a precise set of rules from a Judge employed in the Achern Notary Public office, division of inheritance.

By rule her entire estate would have gone to her parents or living siblings, but they had all predeceased her. However, it was necessary to document all of their names and dates.

Her parents were Anton Reinschmidt b 6/12/1862 d  5/24/1938
Martha (Genter) Reinschmidt b 12/16/1880, d 1/10/1972

Siblings were
1 half brother Joseph R. b 5/1/1898, d 7/19/1970 (father of this writer)
2 half brother Leo R. b 5/28/1899, d 3/4/1967
3 half brother Ludwig R. b 8/22/1900, d 11/7/1954
4 half sister Mathilda R. Genter b 2/20/02, d 5/23/85
5 half brother Lukas R. b 4/10/03, d 6/15/03

At this point, Anton’s first wife, Louisa, died and he married Martha so the remaining siblings are/were full brothers and sisters of Christina which is important because by law, their portion of any inheritance was given more weight than the half siblings.

6 brother Leopold R. b 9/2/07, d 10/20/87
7 sister Theresia R. b 11/10/08, d 5/3/10
8 brother Albin R. 3/4/10 killed in action in Karalajewo 9/15/43
9 sister Adelheid R. b 12/16/11, d 4/26/13
10 sister Rosa R. b 2/15/13, d/1/11/2005
11 brother Anton R. b 1/12/15, missing in action in France declared dead 12/31/45
12 brother Franz Xavier R. b 12/2/16, d 5/3/1992
13 brother Karl R. b 1/19/22, d 2/1/1998

Since this search proved that all of Christina’s siblings were dead, the next step was to establish who were the descendants of her sibilings? This required copies of marriage certificates, birth certificates and death certificates if a descendant had also died. As it evolved there ended up being 13 living descendants, first cousins to each other. Ten were in Germany and three were in the United States.

The estate, therefore, was to be divided as prescribed by law to these 13 direct descendants, not to spouses or any other relatives of the deceased. If the descendant was an only child they received the full amount, but if the sibling had had multiple children the amount was divided equally amongst them.

The process continued with a number of procedures we all had to agree to, such as that cousin Peter was allowed to speak for us in his appearances before the Probate Notary. He generously offered to let anyone else “take over” or work with him but received no takers on the offer. There was no one who could have done it better. Peter was a banker and everything he did was done precisely, ethically and with full disclosure from the beginning to end. We received regular reports, phone calls, e-mails and registered letters as necessary. The German cousins met several times and we in the US also met and had to send written statements acknowledging our receipt of documents and or returning signed statements. Ultimately we had to appear before, and have a document notarized by, the German Counsel representative in Buffalo, NY. This was to prove to the judge in Germany that the three of us here did exist and were alive.

The process started almost immediately after Christina died and ended on April 27, 2014 when the inheritance amounts appeared in our respective bank accounts. It was a surprise to learn that our wonderful witty Aunt Christina, who lived quite simply, had a final net worth of 183,104.78 Euros. Every bit of income and every water and electric bill and other expenses since her death were tabulated and sent to us by Cousin Peter to show how that amount was arrived at. When the three of us in the US offered to give Cousin Peter something for all his work, he simply replied that it was a trust he had agreed to with aunt Christina and it was an honor to have successfully fulfilled it. Our thanks and recognition of that was all he could want.

It was an interesting process and added to the family history in that some of us never knew about our parent’s siblings who died in infancy. It also provided a complete history of the birth and death dates of all of them. It is also worth noting that from this family of 12 siblings there were only 14 direct descendants, 13 of whom are still living, and we, collectively have produced only 18 or 19 children.

Grandfather Anton is probably wondering why we didn’t follow his example.