German gay couples get equal inheritance rights

Gay couples in registered partnerships have the same inheritance rights as married couples, Germany's Federal Constitutional Court ruled Aug. 17.

The decision reduces the maximum inheritance tax rate for a surviving gay partner from 50 percent to 30 percent, and lowers the minimum inheritance tax rate for a surviving gay partner from 17 percent to 7 percent. It also equalizes the portion of an estate that is free from inheritance tax.

Because the setup was unconstitutional, the government must go back and recalculate inheritance taxes in registered gay partnerships from the point that Germany established same-sex partnerships in February 2001.

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