A grandfather had written into his will that two grandchildren must visit him regularly in order to receive an inheritance. However, a regional court found setting such conditions was "immoral."
Family members can't be forced to visits in order to get a cut of inheritance, a Frankfurt regional court ruled Tuesday.
The case revolved around a grandfather who had made a handwritten will in which he wanted his wife and a son from an earlier marriage to each received a quarter of the inheritance. The remaining 50 percent of the five-digit sum was to be split between the two grandchildren of another son.
However, the grandfather had written in the will that the grandchildren would receive the inheritance "only when they regularly visit me at least six times per year."
"If that is not the case, if they don't visit me, then the remaining 50 percent of the money should be divided between my wife and my son," the will stated.
The conditions written into the will had been known to the whole family.
Since the grandchildren, who were still minors at the time in question, did not fulfill the required number of visits, the wife and son from another marriage applied to receive the remaining half of the inheritance. This was later challenged in court by the two grandchildren.
The court noted that anyone is free to decide how their inheritance is distributed and that such wishes could only be overruled in extreme instances. It was also understandable to wish that family members visit regularly, the court said.
However, the terms of this particular condition effectively sought to coerce inheritors and was "unethical and thus void," the ruling stated.