This website is for who are interested or/and involved in inheritence in Japan.
As legal specialist for inheritance in Japan as Gyoseishoshi Lawyer, this website is to give some overview on Japanese inheritence. Certain kind of summery of relevant Civil Code（Act No. 89 of 1896, revised), as well as Act on General Rules for Application of Laws（Act No. 78 of 2006) are included. Latter is only applicable for cross-border inheritance.
Left photo is extract of inheritance chapter in Civil Code stating “Effectiveness of Inheritance”.
Example for Cross-Boarder Inheritance
Many variations could be there. Followings are quick examples;
- Foreign national decedent with assets left in Japan including real estates. Heirs live outside of Japan, then face difficulty for handling inheritance process.
- Japanese spouse decedent who lived permanently lived outside of Japan, with assets left in Japan. Some of heirs are foreign nationals and also live outside of Japan. Inheritance process will need certain difficulty even for proofs.
- Foreign national parent passed away. Child was born between ex-spouse and decedent and has Japanese nationality. Decedent left assets outside of Japan.
Complexity and Necessity for co-work by cross-border
Such Cross-Border Inheritance will involve many aspects of applicable inheritance laws, nature of assets left, family laws, etc. Once Cross-Border Inheritance happens, in Japan, Act on General Rules for Application of Laws(Act No.78 of June 21, 2006) says;
Article 36 Inheritance is governed by the national law of the decedent.
You can imagine that decedent’s national law will be applicable – this is right.
Next question is – what kind of national applicable law says for this inheritance case? Yes, this depends on decedent’s national law – out of Japanese laws.
Some countries, applicable law says like;
- Inheritance of real estate should be applied by the local law where real estate exists.
- Inheritance of other assets than real estates should be applied by our law.
Everybody gets confusion – real estates in Japan can be applied by Japanese inheritance law?
Yes, this is right.
This turns out that we should look into Japanese inheritance law REGARDING real estates in Japan. Who are heirs, how much share each heir have, obligation and rights – all applicable law is that of Japan.
Foreign law applies for bank balance, even for banks in Japan? Yes, this is right. Who are heirs, how much share each heir have – applicable law is that of foreign law.
Now you can imagine easily that we need to co-work with attorneys-at-law in foreign country/region.
Also, actual execution will need power-of-attorneys which can be only done by local attorneys-at-law.
In Japan, if without legal disputes, Gyoseishoshi Lawyer can make documentation of facts, rights and obligations, then be a representative role with power-of-attorneys for execution. Someone should kick-off the division – with specialist’s assistance.
Specialist for Cross-Border Inheritance in Japan
My main field as specialist of Gyoseishoshi Lawyer is Cross-Border Inheritance. Many co-works by English or Portueguese with local attorneys-at-law have been made around 20 countries/region during my past experience. Qualification as US CPA might assist for consideration for inheritance tax as well – this could be potential headache for heirs.
Note that inheritance tax report to Japanese tax authority and relevant consultation should be provided by Certified Public Tax Accountants or CPAs in Japan, even though I am licensed CPA in United States.
- Division agreement among heirs in accordance with Japanese inheritance law
- Drafting Will in accordance with Japanese law, especially Notarized Will
- Execution of inherited assets with Japanese financial institutions as an attorney-in-fact
- Relevant consultations involving Japanese inheritance law including writing memorandum