Thank you each and all for offering perspective & advice. There was a will
(lost), there was no probate. The letter was in response to a claim my
wife's mother made, on behalf of my wife, about 8 years ago. Many of the
emails suggested 1) that we ask the German authorities what they require
for proof of inheritance and 2) that we get notarized statements by
life-long friends of the deceased and submit them in lieu of. Good advice.
Best, Steve Orlen