frequently asked questions

...and our answers:

Do the basic inheritance already exist?

Yes and No. Unfortunately, as a public, legal institution, the basic inheritance does not yet exist. However, from 2019 the foundation will award 10 basic inheritances annually from private funds. The receivers are determined by lot. Whoever turns 30 in the next few years has a chance of winning about 1: 70,000. That doesn't sound so great at first, but it's better than the chance to win 15,000 € in the lottery. And above all, you have already made your commitment for the raffle: your birth, your decision to approach life here on this earth, is your right to participate.

Doesn't the political demand for a basic inheritance arise out of envy?

Did Mahatma Gandhi fight for the equality of his countrymen out of envy to the privileged English? Did the philosoph Emanuel Kant develop his "Categorical Imperative" out of a personal injury? And do the opponents of inheritance taxes act out of greed? We don't know. It's none of our business. The basic inheritance is a political demand that definitely has the right and the well-being of all in mind. Accordingly, it must be discussed objectively and detached from the motives of the protagonists. What is certain is that the aktives of the foundation cannot derive any material advantage for themselves or their descendants from it.

Should inheritance law be abolished?

No, on the contrary. The foundation wants to and will support the inheritance - not to prevent this. Our right of inheritance, which now stands on the two feet of family inheritance and testate law, is to have a third foot: The right to a basic inheritance.

Isn't that a kind of socialism that the foundation strives for with its basic inheritance?

No. Socialism seeks to solve the problems by reducing or at least affecting personal ownership of the economy. Socialist solutions aim at more state regulation, less economic freedom and a strengthening of the supply mentality. We consider private property to be very helpful for the development of the individual to personal freedom. We want to introduce each person to property and to the personal responsibility, the design possibilities and the personal growth that is associated with it.

We see ourselves in a very liberal position. Just, at least approximately equal starting conditions and the "dismantling of undeserved, birth-related privileges" are "characteristics of liberal tradition". (Friedrich v. Hayek)

Isn't it unfair that a person who has worked all his life should be taken part of his assets upon his death and given to someone else?

First of all, it is death that takes someone's fortune, not us or the state. But as before, everyone can pass on their assets to their heirs without restriction. However, if they inherit a lot, and only if they inherit a lot, they would have to give something back. Not to the state as before, but via an inheritance compensation fund to those of their fellow citizens who otherwise inherit nothing. For the earth belongs to all men and everyone has a natural right to his share in it, from which he can make his living.


Is it fair that a person who is born a poor person, practically from birth, has to pay rent and interest to a peer who has never done anything for it, just because he is the child of rich parents?

We must find a reasonable balance between these two positions and between the extremely different starting conditions of the individual people.

Would the money not be wasted immediately by most recipients and flow into short-term consumption?

The basic inheritance is only paid out if it flows into fixed assets that may not be sold for three years. After that it can theoretically be consumed. According to a study by the Association of Savings Banks of Germany, for example, two-thirds of young adults make "serious efforts to save money". This is also our own experience. 

But even if some of the basic inheritances were consumed after the three years, there can be no economic damage. What one of us spends, another deserves. In addition, the one who has wasted an opportunity is no longer the same as the one who never had it. The basic inheritance will always convey a valuable personal experience.

Why would the basic inheritance be a tax reduction?

In the basic-inheritance-model, the state would forgo the four to five billion euros it currently collects in inheritance tax. This money (and a little more) would be paid into the fund of the basic inheritance. From there the money will be distributed to those who would otherwise inherit nothing. The annual inherited assets will thus - in contrast to now - remain entirely in the private hands of the population. However, it would then be more fairly distributed. This would result in a tax reduction in the amount of the current inheritance tax and a reduction of state paternalism.

What does someone do who would need the basic inheritance to study?

For those who need the basic inheritance for education (e.g. tuition fees), it should be possible to access it earlier for this purpose. However, BAföG (german system of education promotion) should not be replaced by the basic inheritance.

Isn't 30 years old much too late?

The age at which the basic inheritance is to be allocated is well worth discussing. In principle, a higher age will lead to a more prudent handling of the basic inheritance. In Germany, the average age of inheritance is 55. At that time, the course for life has usually already been set and the desire for innovation has declined. The basic inheritance of 30 would bring forward part of the annual inherited capital by 25 years. It is being shifted to the lifetime in which people are usually economically more innovative and need initial capital.

Isn't €15,000 or €20,000 much too little? What can you do with it?

If one or two want to build a house, start a business, etc., then 20,000 € equity capital (or two times = 40,000 €) can be very decisive. Also for the support of a training 20,000 € are a very considerable amount. It is not to be expected that someone rejects the basic inheritance because it is too little.

Wouldn't a basic income be better than a basic inheritance, because many people are not able to handle capital?

The purpose of the basic inheritance is to take as many people as possible into the responsibility. This is not achieved with a basic income.

Who can decide in advance who is able to deal with capital and who is not? Don't those who may not yet be able to deal with capital have to move there? The economy will continue to automate. As a result, labour incomes will decrease and capital incomes will grow. Capital ownership will become more and more necessary to earn any income at all. The basic inheritance will set this process of learning and development to capital ownership on a broad basis in motion.

The big problem of the increasing concentration of capital cannot be solved by a basic income. Even if it worked, the power would remain in the hands of a few. Only a basic inheritance can counteract the concentration of economic power. There is also a blog post to compare basic income with basic inheritance.

How should the basic inheritance be distributed in practice?

Everyone who has reached a certain age (e.g. 30) goes to the office and files a claim. At the same time, he or she looks for an asset on the open market that he or she wants (reason, apartment, stock, etc.). After examining its claim and the seriousness of its investment, the Office will pay for this asset from the inheritance compensation fund (up to the amount of the basic inheritance).

If someone has to pay back the basic inheritance, if he later inherits something privately, does this not make small private inheritances nonsensical or prevent them?

The repayment should not exceed a certain percentage of the later inheritances, e.g. 20 %. This means that if someone later inherits 20,000 € privately, he or she pays 4,000 € back, with an inheritance of 50,000 € he or she pays 10,000 € back, and so on. Only with an inheritance in the value of 100,000 € or more he has to pay back the entire basic inheritance of 20,000 €. This means that private inheritances remain interesting in any case and at any amount. Generally one can say that by the basic inheritance the inheriting is supported up to a height of 100.000€. Why? Because anyone who inherits less can keep a part of his or her basic inheritance.

If someone knows that he gets 20,000 € basic inheritance at the age of 30, won't he possibly borrow money earlier, in response to this claim?

The basic inheritances are protected by law during the first three years (the "waiting period") to the extent that they cannot be sold. It would also be conceivable to protect them legally to the extent that they may not be used to secure liabilities. Thus the young person does not become creditworthy on the basis of the future basic inheritance. The basic inheritance could even be designed in such a way that the recipient - if he is anxious - can extend this protection period. In this way he would have - in extreme cases for life - a small property that cannot be taken from him. A property with which he could manage, but not sell it.

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