Inheritance Law Revision, 2018
Inheritance law was revised in July, 2018. The basic purposes for this revision are as follows
– to make Advancement, Testation and Testament more accessible
– to secure financial support for heirs until completion of partition of the estate
– to ensure fairness among heirs
Here are some examples of revised items
- Typed lists used as an attachment to “Holograph Will” can be accepted (Article 968) Holograph Wills were to be submitted with holograph lists: however, this revision allows typed lists, copy of bankbooks or copies of certified copy of register to be attached to holograph wills. It must be noted that every page in attachment must be signed and sealed.
- Wills can be stored at Legal Affairs Bureau. (Laws on storage of wills at Legal Affairs Bureau) Holograph Wills are oftentimes stored at one’s residence which causes problems such as loss, discardment, or information alteration. The system is being launched where Holograph Wills can be stored at Legal Affairs Bureau in order for the usage of Holograph Wills to be more accessible.
- Establishment of the right of residence for spouses (Article 1028 ~ 1036) One of the focal points of this revision is the right of residence for spouses. The right of residence allows spouses to continue residing in the property that is part of the inheritance property in the even where spouses are already residing in the said property at the time of the start of the inheritance procedure. As a general rule, it allows spouses to continue residing in the said property for life for free. That is, for example, even in the case where heirs other than spouses inherited the building spouses resided, spouses shall continue to reside in the said building with the right of residence for spouses. The right of residence for spouses does not allow spouses to sell or lease the property and spouses must reside in the property with due care of a prudent manager.
- The right of short-term residence for spouses (Article 1037 ~ 1041) In the even where spouses reside in the property which is a part of inheritance property when the inheritance procedure starts, spouses may continue residing in the property until the procedure ends or for 6 months since the start of the inheritance procedure, whichever later, for free. Item 3. guarantees the right of lifetime residence whereas this right allows the short-time residence until the inheritance procedure finalizes or for 6 month even if the inheritance procedure ended before that.
- Temporary Advance System (Article 909 – 2) In order to secure fund for immediate living cost, funeral expense and such, even before the inheritance procedure finalizes and even without the court’s decision, spouses may withdraw up to JPY1,500,000 from each financial institution.
- Family members other than heirs may claim special contribution fee (Article 1050 and others) Family members other than heirs who had been nursing and caring for inheritees were not necessarily included in the distribution of heritage. The revision guarantees that, in the event where family members other than heirs had nursed and cared for inheritees without being compensated for the labor and contributed in maintaining or increasing inheritees’ property, they may charge heirs money (special contribution fee).
Other items not listed above are revisions on testamentary executors, the third party’s relation to the inheritance procedure, the legally secured portion and so forth.
This revision will be executed from July 1st, 2019 (not to pass 1 year after promulgation on July 13th, 2018). The exceptions to the execution date are Item 1 which started January 13th, 2019, Item 2 which will start July 10th, 2020, Item 3 and 4 which start from April 1st, 2020.