the German inheritance and gift tax is a true inheritance tax and not an estate tax meaning what is being taxed is the value of what you receive. The exemption amount for children currently is €400,000. (§ 16 ErbStG). Beyond this amount tax rates between 7% up to 30% apply (§ 17 ErbSt).
This tax applies to you because you have a German residence regardless of your citizenship or the one of your parents. According to Art.5 of the German-USA double taxation treaty for this tax, real estate can also be taxed in the country where the real estate is located.
However, U.S. federal estate and state estate respectively inheritancetaxes, that some states still have, can be sett off against the German inhertance tax liabiliy (Art. 11 of the treaty and § 21 ErbStG).
To some extent life-gifts can be used to reduce this tax but this requires that the periord between the gift and time of death exceeds 10 years. Besides, if these gifts exceed the exemtion amounts, this inheritance tax also operates as tax on life-gifts whereby the same tax rates indicated above apply.
Feel free to contact me email if you have further questions on the subject. Besides, you would also have a function on this platform, which allows you to raise one more question free of charge. The buttom should say something like "Nachfragefunktion".
Andre Jahn (Ra. LL.M.)