Bonn In the case of the missing millionaire couple, Doris Hagen's brother and her son quarrelled. The claims to the inheritance are now statute-barred.
Winfried and Doris Hagen have been gone for more than 25 years. The case of the Beuel millionaire couple was never solved. Their son, who quickly became the main suspect in the case of his parents who were declared dead in 2015, became the sole heir of the estate. He had been in legal dispute with his mother's brother since November. His brother went to Bonn Regional Court and his son appealed to Cologne Higher Regional Court. There a verdict has now been reached: the son is not entitled to asserted claims to the grandfather's inheritance, a total of around 100,000 Euro.
The money now at stake is the inheritance of Doris Hagen's father. He had transferred his real estate in Sankt Augustin to his son - her brother - on December 12, 1974. He was obliged by notarial deed to pay his daughter Doris Hagen, or her heirs, 1000 D-Mark per month as compensation for ten years after his death.
In May 1992 his father died - two years later, on 13 July 1994, his daughter and her husband Winfried disappeared without a trace from their home in Beuel-Heidebergen. The two wanted to go to their yacht in Holland, but never arrived there. The police had found packed travel bags in the property.
The investigators assume that the Hagen couple fell victim to a crime. And for them the question remains: Was their son involved? However, the suspicion had never been confirmed, the investigations against the son had been discontinued. After his parents had been declared dead, he had inherited the millions and had gone abroad.
As Doris Hagen's 80-year-old brother assured us at the trial in November, he set up a standing order immediately after his father's death. He had thus not only transferred the promised 1000 D-Mark to his sister Doris monthly, but even 2500 D-Mark, because he had agreed this with his father shortly before his death. After the disappearance of his sister, he then changed the standing order and transferred the money to the account of his nephew as heir until 2002 as agreed. Although he was suspected of having something to do with the disappearance of his parents, he had stood by him.
Thus the uncle had fulfilled the notarial contract. But that was exactly what the 53-year-old nephew denied. Taking into account the decline in the value of the money since 1974, he demanded the entire sum for ten years, namely 107,371 Euro. The uncle received the document at the end of May last year as an immediate execution.
The uncle then filed an action with the 1st Civil Chamber of the Regional Court to have the execution declared inadmissible. In addition, he filed a motion for suspension until the judges reached a decision. The court discontinued the enforcement proceedings because "sufficient success prospects" existed in the main proceedings for the uncle. And finally he was proved right. He lacked documents such as bank statements, which only had to be kept for ten years. However, the uncle had handed over affidavits from his wife and daughter as well as other documents.
But the dispute was not over yet: "The son appealed to the Higher Regional Court", as speaker Ingo Werner explains. The judges now came to the conclusion that the claims were time-barred. "There are various periods of limitation which can go back up to 30 years," said Werner. In this case, however, the judges found a clause to be applicable that applies to recurring benefits - and that amounts to only three years. However, the payments had already been settled in 2002. "Why Doris Hagen's son made the claims so late is unclear," says Werner. The dispute is now as good as closed. In their decision, the judges did not admit the appeal. The son could at most file an appeal against this with the next higher court, the Federal Supreme Court. The time limit for this ends at the beginning of October.
File number: OLG Cologne 19 U 44/19
(Original text: Nicolas Ottersbach and Rita Klein; Translation: Mareike Graepel)