Germany: Testierfreiheit – Grenzen kennen und vollständig ausschöpfen

Last Updated: 12 July 2019
Article by Kerstin Aust
Most Read Contributor in Germany, July 2019

Das Erbrecht ist eines der Grundrechte (Art. 14 Abs. 1 S. 1 GG). Geschützt ist sowohl das Recht des Erblassers, seine Vermögensnachfolge frei zu bestimmen (sog. Testierfreiheit), als auch das Recht des Erben, mit dem Tod des Erblassers dessen Vermögen zu übernehmen. Manchmal sind die Interessen des Erblassers und der potentiellen (gesetzlichen) Erben nicht deckungsgleich. In diesem Spannungsverhältnis kann ein Testament an den gesetzlichen Anforderungen scheitern. Ob sich der letzte Wille des Erblassers durchsetzt, müssen nicht selten Gerichte entscheiden.

Erbeinsetzung unter einer Bedingung, hier: der Bedingung regelmäßiger Besuche (OLG Frankfurt, Beschluss vom 05.02.2019, Az. 20 W 98/18)

Neben der schlichten Bestimmung der Erben kann ein Erblasser in seinem Testament grundsätzlich auch persönliche Wünsche, Erwartungen und Forderungen frei umsetzten. Um seinen Vorstellungen über gewisse Umstände bei der eigenen Vermögensnachfolge mehr Nachdruck zu verleihen, darf der Erblasser bis zur Grenze der Sittenwidrigkeit auch Bedingungen stellen, an welche die letztwilligen Verfügungen geknüpft sind, und damit auf den Empfänger der erbrechtlichen Zuwendung indirekt Einfluss nehmen. Doch wann sind Bedingungen sittenwidrig – was ist zulässig und was nicht?

Nicht sittenwidrig sind alle Bedingungen, die dazu bestimmt und geeignet sind, den Bestand des Nachlasses beim Empfänger zu erhalten oder vor dem Zugriff Dritter zu schützen. Wenn jedoch der Erblasser mit den gesetzten Bedingungen darauf abzielt, den Empfänger zu einem bestimmten nur von seinem eigenen Willen abhängigen Verhalten zu veranlassen oder davon abzuhalten, beginnt die Grauzone. Denn in diesen Fällen kollidiert die Testierfreiheit des Erblassers mit dem Persönlichkeitsrecht des Empfängers.

Ob eine sittenwidrige Fremdbestimmung durch den Erblasser vorliegt, bemisst sich danach, ob sowohl das erstrebte Verhalten des Empfängers als auch der zugewendete Vermögenswert eine gewisse Erheblichkeit für den Empfänger überschreitet. Wertmäßig geringe Zuwendungen können die freie Willensentscheidung des Empfängers regelmäßig nicht derart beeinflussen, dass sie als sittenwidrig und damit unwirksam einzustufen sind. Bei umfangreichen Vermögen, die mitunter das bereits vorhandene Vermögen des Empfängers deutlich übersteigen, ist das anders.

Hinreichend geklärt ist, dass es zwar zulässig ist, die Erbenstellung von der bloßen Verheiratung des Empfängers abhängig zu machen. Jedoch darf weder die Heirat mit einer bestimmten Person oder Personengruppe (Stichwort: ebenbürtig") zur Bedingung gemacht werden, noch ohne triftigen Grund die letztwillige Verfügung davon abhängig gemacht werden, dass eine Heirat bspw. mit einem Ausländer oder Andersgläubigen unterlassen wird. Mit einer Bedingung verbundene Einschränkungen der Berufsfreiheit oder der Freiheit, den Wohnsitz zu bestimmen, können unter Abwägung der damit verbundenen Ziele des Erblassers zulässig sein. Zulässig sind auch anerkannte Zielsetzungen, wie: wenn er mit dem trinken / spielen aufhört" oder die Erbeinsetzung unter der Bedingung der Pflege der eigenen oder einer anderen Person.

Doch was ist mit dem scheinbar harmlosen Wunsch des Erblassers, dass ihn seine Enkelkinder regelmäßig, mindestens einmal im Monat besuchen kommen? Einen solchen Wunsch hatte ein Erblasser in seinem Testament zur Bedingung für die Erbeinsetzung der Enkel erhoben und den Sohn hiervon in Kenntnis gesetzt. Das OLG Frankfurt hat hierzu unlängst entschieden, dass eine solche Bedingung sittenwidrig, also unwirksam ist (Beschluss vom 05.02.2019, Az. 20 W 98/18). Das klingt zunächst überraschend, könnte man doch zunächst annehmen, die Enkelkinder könnten frei über die Besuche beim Opa entscheiden. Können sie nicht, meinte das OLG Frankfurt demgegenüber, denn die Besuche waren angesichts des Alters der Enkelkinder vom Willen der Eltern abhängig, die sich – wie zu erwarten war – nicht mehr so gut mit dem alten Herrn verstanden. Zudem war der Wert des Vermögens mit über EUR 300.000 derart beträchtlich, dass die Eltern der bedachten Enkel von der Bedingung regelrecht zu den regelmäßigen Besuchen gezwungen worden wären. Der Lösung des OLG Frankfurt war dennoch im Ergebnis zuzustimmen, da es einfach eine Erbeinsetzung der Enkel ohne die (sittenwidrige) Bedingung annahm, um den Willen des Erblassers trotz der Nichterfüllung der Besuche doch noch weitestgehend zu entsprechen.

Bei der Ausgestaltung von Bedingungen im Testament gilt es dementsprechend die Grenzen der Rechtsprechung zu beachten, damit es aus Sicht des Erblassers am Ende nicht dazu kommt, dass weder die von ihm gewünschte Bedingung eintritt noch die dahinter stehende Zielrichtung der Vermögensübertragung auf eine bestimmte Person erfüllt wird. Demgegenüber sollten die von der Bedingung beeinträchtigten Personen stets sehr genau überprüfen lassen, ob das, was der Erblasser verfügt hat, tatsächlich wirksam ist.

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