When fear and avarice creep into inheritance matters, it becomes difficult for the bereaved. Because the last will of the deceased can quickly turn out to be a tax shackle.

What do you wish for after death?  Four men of advanced age on a bench on the shore of Lake Constance.

LDear investors! Dear millionaires! I have a question. Which is worse – an old house or an elderly man? You don’t have to answer right away. Please let the question go through your head in peace, and perhaps my case today will help you to find the “right” answer. As usual, there is a true story behind it. And I have the feeling that the inadequacies that emerge in it, namely fear and avarice, are at home under many roofs of this country.

The protagonist of the story is a 70 year old house owner widow from southern Germany. She was married to a property owner who was 15 years older and who died three years ago. The marriage was no slouch for either party, but it was at least financially worthwhile for the lady, if I may put it that way. The deceased left his wife a home worth 1,500,000 euros and a collection of mortgage bonds worth 500,000 euros. Added to this is the monthly widow’s pension of 1500 euros, which on the day of the man’s death, according to the inheritance table of the Federal Minister of Finance, represented a capital value of 200,000 euros. In short, the widow rose to the double millionaire league overnight, and that should be reason enough not to worry about the future. But this is usually not the case, because there is some oh under every roof.