Ｑ.Do you always have to pay inheritance tax when you inherit?
No. It is said that the percentage of cases in which filing of inheritance tax is required is only 6%. Therefore, for the cases which occur in many middle-class families, filing of inheritance tax is not required. This is due to the “Basic Exemption” which is included in Inheritance Tax Law.
For cases after January 1, 2015
30,000,000 yen + (6,000,000 yen × the number of heirs by law)
For cases before January 1, 2015
50,000,000 yen + (10,000,000 yen × the number of heirs by law)
If the inheritance property exceeds the amount calculated by one of the formulas above, you need to file inheritance tax with a tax office within 10 months of the passing of the deceased. Our partner tax lawyer will help you.
Ｑ. Do I have to visit local government offices even though they are
far from where I live in order to collect the family records of the
No. You can request family register records of the deceased by mail, yet it is not so easy and simple to prepare the forms, postal money orders and letters explanation the requests. Please leave this matter to a Gyoseishoshi Lawyer who is knowledgeable of this paperwork. Certified legal professionals such as Gyoseishoshi Lawyers and Bengoshi Lawyers are authorized to request necessary documents related to family registers as representatives of their clients. This makes the process faster and smoother.
Ｑ. I do not want any of the inheritance property. Do I have to file
a “Renunciation of Inheritance”?
No. You are not required to file a “Renunciation of Inheritance” to a Family Court if you do not wish to receive any of the inheritance property. If you do file this renunciation, your will no longer be an heir and you will lose your right to participate in the Agreement on Division of Inheritance. In this case, even if other property belonging to the deceased is found at a later point in time, you will not be able to get your position back. However, by filing this renunciation, you will be released from all debts which the deceased incurred. Therefore, in a case in which it is obvious that the deceased did not have any debts, it would be easier to simply agree that you will not receive any of the inheritance property and execute an Agreement on Division of Inheritance rather than file a Renunciation of Inheritance.
Ｑ.I’m exhausted from handling bank paperwork. Can
Gyoseishoshi Lawyers undertake this?
Yes. Most banks accept proxy paperwork and submission by lawyers with Power of Attorney signed by all the heirs. However, some banks might not be willing to take the risk of paying money to someone who may not have the right to receive it. Banks always try to avoid becoming involved in trouble among heirs. For this reason, please contact us so we can inquire about this matter.
Ｑ.I have a so-called “de facto wife”. Does she have a right to a
portion of the inheritance?
I am afraid she does not. The law protects only spouses who are legally married, so no matter how much you love the de facto wife/husband, he/she cannot be an heir by law. If you want to leave some property for your de facto wife/husband, we strongly recommend that you either write a will and show your intention to devise (izou), or gift some assets to your de facto spouse before your death (seizen zouyo). In such cases, you have to be careful of the “legally-secured portion” (“iryubun”) of certain heirs by law. The portion which an heir receives cannot fall below his/her legally-secured portion, and this cannot be changed even by a will. If you know that some (or all) of the heirs’ legally-secured portions will be infringed upon, and yet you still want to devise some assets, it is advised that you seek advice from a legal expert.
Ｑ. Do my stepchildren have rights to a portion of the inheritance?
I am afraid they do not. Stepchildren and parents are not blood relations, and just being “family” does not give them any rights to a portion of the inheritance. However, in terms of inheritance, the law protects adopted children to the exact same extent as biological children. Therefore, if a stepparent chooses to legally adopt the stepchildren, they will be entitled to a portion of the inheritance.
Ｑ. I did not think there was a will by the deceased, but there
actually was. What should I do?
Basically, you need to disaffirm the Agreement on Division of Inheritance because you should comply with the contents of the will. However, if all the heirs agree to stand by the Agreement on Division of Inheritance which has already been executed, it is OK not to follow the will. In the case that the will appoints an executor, you need his/her approval in order to keep the Agreement on Division of Inheritance in effect.