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Testamentary disposition (Letztwillige Verfügung)

The legislature uses the term testamentary disposition to mean a will because it is the testator's last word on his or her estate without revocation (§ 1937 BGB). The term also includes all individual dispositions. The term disposition of property upon death is the generic term for will and contract of inheritance. This is because both forms grant the testator the opportunity to shape the passing on of his or her assets. The essential difference between the will and the contract of inheritance lies in the possibility of revocation: the will, as a unilateral legal transaction, can be freely revoked by the testator at any time (§ 2253 BGB). A joint will concerning reciprocal dispositions can in principle only be revoked for a limited period of time until the death of the other or the spouse (§§ 2270, 2271, para. 2 BGB). In the contract of inheritance, on the other hand, dispositions can also be made by contract and thus irrevocably by reason of death (§§ 2278, 2289 ff. BGB).