When a person dies, the property owned by that person (as well as the obligations and rights attached to that property) will be succeeded to a given number of close relations.
This is called inheritance.
The General Principle Act on Application of Laws states regarding inheritance that the law of the home country of the deceased should be applied.
With regards to your husband’s inheritance, since your husband is a Japanese national, the Japanese civil code will be applicable regardless whether the person subject to inheritance is a foreign national.
If the deceased is a foreign national, the law of their home country will be applicable. However, there are cases where this law states that regarding inheritance, the law where the property to be inherited will apply.
In such cases, with regards to property to be succeeded located in Japan, the Japanese law will be applicable.
In Japan, persons who are subject to inheritance are defined as follows:
Firstly, the spouse of the deceased always has a right to inheritance.
This refers to the spouse at the time of the death, and therefore will not apply to a former spouse who has divorced the deceased.
If there are children (including adopted children), then they are eligible.
If the couple have no children, then the parents of the deceased, and if there is no child or parent, then the brothers and sisters of the deceased become eligible for inheritance.
The grandchildren of the deceased will be eligible for inheritance, if the child of the deceased dies before the deceased.
If there are several persons eligible for inheritance, then they must agree regarding the partition of the estate.
As long as every one of the persons subject to inheritance is in agreement, it does not matter how the inheritance is allocated. Even a decision for one individual to claim the entire inheritance is valid.
There is a standard for distribution known as legal shares of inheritance.
The Japanese civil code the portion allocated to each individual, if there is more than one person eligible for inheritance.
If there is the spouse and children, the spouse is to be given half of the estate, with the remaining half split amongst all the children.
All the children receive an equal amount. This holds true even if they don’t share a common mother.
However, under the current Japanese civil code, a child born to a couple who are not legally mar-rind is only allowed half of what a child born from a married couple would inherit.
If we apply this to the given question, each of these children will receive one-third of the remaining half, or the equivalent of one-sixth shares in inheritance.
There are only the spouse and the parents of the deceased, the spouse receives two-thirds and the parents the remaining one-third.
If the only persons eligible are the spouse and the brothers and sisters of the deceased, then the spouse receives three-quarters and the broth-ers and sisters receive in total the remaining one-quarter of the estate.
If an agreement cannot be reached regarding the partition of estate, the persons eligible for inheritance can file for mediation with the Family Court. Since mediation is a means for discussion, a member of the committee will mediate a discussion among the persons subject to inheritance.
If an agreement cannot be reached through mediation, one can further request for a court judgment.
You inherit not only the rights of the deceased, but also the obligations.
In other words, if the deceased had debts unpaid, this debt is also inherited.
One cannot inherit only the property and not the debts.
Therefore, if it the property to be inherited to consists only of debt, you should consider a renunciation.
A renunciation of inheritance must be done within three months from the time you became aware of the fact that you had inherited the property in question, and is done by filing with the Family Court.
Once three months have elapsed, you will be seen as having accepted the inheritance.
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