What's new

What happens when someone waives inheritance in Japan?

FJms92

Registered
Joined
Mar 26, 2016
Messages
2
Hi all, I've been trying my best to find out answers on my own but there has been little info. I found this website/forum when someone posted a question about inheriting a deceased person's debt.

TLDR;
- what happens when foreign nationals living outside of Japan waives their inheritance from their Japanese parent's passing? How will the court distribute the shares?
- what is the process for the heirs if they don't waive their inheritance?
- Do the heirs have to fly in to the city to do the nessascary paperwork for waiving inheritance?

My Japanese father passed away in Japan a few months back (we were informed about it a month after his passing, and due to circumstances we are not able to visit Japan at the moment) and now the official mourning period is over, my relatives (my father's siblings) have emailed my brother and I regarding our inheritance (involving bank account balance and a car).

We are foreign nationals living outside of Japan. Because of this, we were told that withdrawing it would be a long and complicated process, whereas waiving our inheritance would be an easier and faster process. They mentioned that the money left behind by my father originated from our ojii-chan's death inheritance, so our relatives want us to waive our inheritance. They said they would be happy to introduce us to an English-speaking lawyer in Hokkaido, and they will take care of the lawyer's fee when we do this. They did not mention about any will left behind.

Because it is such a sensitive situation and the way they have written some sentences in the email, my brother and I want to find out what we can about Japan's inheritance law before agreeing into anything. They told us we have to settle it within 3 months of knowing of our dad's passing, which means we have till before end of April.

My late father is survived by my brother and I, and his siblings and our obaa-chan.

Any help and pointers to the right direction would be much appreciated. Anyone knows of English-speaking lawyers based in Hokkaido? Thank you.
 

Mike Cash

骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう
Joined
Mar 15, 2002
Messages
16,454
Ratings
1,568
This doesn't sound suspicious to you? It sounds like they are trying to cheat you out of your proper share.

This lawyer says there is no huge difference in the process for Japanese citizens overseas. Do you have Japanese citizenship?

海外に住んでいる相続人がいる 遺産相続の手続きナビ -みお綜合法律事務所-

I am no expert, but it looks to me from #34 and/or #35 that you and your brother are the legal heirs to your father's entire estate; his mother and siblings have no legal claim to any of it whatsoever. However, if they can get you two to sign a waiver, then they can do pretty much anything they want to do.

https://souzoku-pro.info/columns/10/#31:父母と子の場合

In my opinion, they're not doing you a favor by saving you the trouble of doing paperwork; they're trying to STEAL your rightful legal inheritance from you.
 
Last edited:

FJms92

Registered
Joined
Mar 26, 2016
Messages
2
This doesn't sound suspicious to you? It sounds like they are trying to cheat you out of your proper share.

This lawyer says there is no huge difference in the process for Japanese citizens overseas. Do you have Japanese citizenship?

海外に住んでいる相続人がいる 遺産相続の手続きナビ -みお綜合法律事務所-

I am no expert, but it looks to me from #34 and/or #35 that you and your brother are the legal heirs to your father's entire estate; his mother and siblings have no legal claim to any of it whatsoever. However, if they can get you two to sign a waiver, then they can do pretty much anything they want to do.

https://souzoku-pro.info/columns/10/#31:父母と子の場合

In my opinion, they're not doing you a favor by saving you the trouble of doing paperwork; they're trying to STEAL your rightful legal inheritance from you.
Hi Mike,

Thank you for the reply. When I got their email, it did feel like a slap in the face. But my brother and I are trying to keep calm and not be too hasty as we are still trying to get closure with our father's passing because we didn't get to say goodbye and have many questions left unanswered.

With regards to the inheritance, I'm not sure if it is similar as there's no property left behind, just my dad's money left in the bank and a car.

We are Singaporeans and we can't hold dual citizenship... So we chose to be Singaporeans since we grew up here. I did have a Japanese passport but it has already expired early last year.

I'll be checking in with the Japan embassy tomorrow, hopefull they have more information on this. Looking up for a lawyer in the mean time.

Thanks for the links.
 

Mike Cash

骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう
Joined
Mar 15, 2002
Messages
16,454
Ratings
1,568
It should feel like a slap in the face; it was a rather obvious attempt to rob you.

You owe them no more consideration than they gave you, which is none whatsoever. If I were you I'd make sure I took every single yen and left nothing at all for them. If my understanding is correct, they have no legal claim to anything at all and they forfeited any moral claim when they tried to screw you.
 

Lothor

Sempai
Donor
Joined
Sep 26, 2015
Messages
402
Ratings
50
Because of this, we were told that withdrawing it would be a long and complicated process, whereas waiving our inheritance would be an easier and faster process.
Absolute nonsense. I've sent a money from the UK from Japan and from Japan from UK, and neither process took more than 10 minutes or cost more than a few thousand yen.
I hope someone can point you in the direction of a good lawyer. Good luck.
 
Joined
Dec 23, 2010
Messages
974
Ratings
148
FJms92,

It kind of sounds like you were not there for the funeral--is that correct?

If not, do you know who paid for that? Funeral costs can run up to ¥3,000,000-¥4,000,000 yen.

If you two are the inheritors of everything, I'd offer that you (and not other relatives) should be paying (or reimbursing someone) for those costs.

If that's the value of your father's estate (and someone else paid), you might consider waiving your right and letting your relatives settle the funeral costs amongst themselves (and I'd clearly state that intent in your waiver). Or waive your right in favour of the person(s) that paid (and not to those who didn't). Or that, in waiving your right to inheritance, that you are also no longer responsible for any past or future estate costs. (e.g., You wouldn't want to waive the right to your inheritance, and then get billed for the funeral.)

If your father's estate is worth more than the funeral cost, I'd say you should take the money, but also make things right with those who paid for the funeral.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 12, 2013
Messages
1,507
Ratings
293
Absolute nonsense. I've sent a money from the UK from Japan and from Japan from UK, and neither process took more than 10 minutes
I think the post is talking about getting access to the account of a deceased person, which can take some time.
 

mdchachi

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Mar 6, 2003
Messages
2,516
Ratings
1 237
I could imagine it could be a hassle distribute a financial account to a non-citizen given how much it is a hassle to do various relatively normal banking activities. It's not obvious that they are trying to cheat you. However if it's a concern and you agree to some distribution of the money, ask them to wire you the equivalent amount of money first. And then sign the papers. Then, the risk is entirely on their side.
 

Mike Cash

骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう
Joined
Mar 15, 2002
Messages
16,454
Ratings
1,568
It's not obvious that they are trying to cheat you.
Unless the amount is chump change, I don't see how much more obvious it could be. You do understand that the relatives asking the OP (and brother) under Japanese inheritance law have precisely a ZERO share in the estate, don't you?
 

mdchachi

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Mar 6, 2003
Messages
2,516
Ratings
1 237
Unless the amount is chump change, I don't see how much more obvious it could be. You do understand that the relatives asking the OP (and brother) under Japanese inheritance law have precisely a ZERO share in the estate, don't you?
I agree it does sound suspicious. Nevertheless the conclusion is not obvious without knowing the whole story and family history. The siblings could legitimately feel justified in making such a request for a variety of reasons.

Also, just because the inheritance may legally be theirs doesn't necessarily mean taking it is morally the right thing to do. For example, my grandfather as the first born was set to receive the family household & land. Lots of people in those days had no qualms about taking the home in the old country and selling it out of the family and taking the money back to their relatively comfortable life in America. Fortunately he did the right thing and gave the home to his sister's family who were living in it. The point being that legalities are just one part of the picture.

Anyway I hope the OP gives an update. We frequently end up not knowing the end of the story on threads like this.
 

Mike Cash

骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう
Joined
Mar 15, 2002
Messages
16,454
Ratings
1,568
I agree it does sound suspicious. Nevertheless the conclusion is not obvious without knowing the whole story and family history. The siblings could legitimately feel justified in making such a request for a variety of reasons.

Also, just because the inheritance may legally be theirs doesn't necessarily mean taking it is morally the right thing to do. For example, my grandfather as the first born was set to receive the family household & land. Lots of people in those days had no qualms about taking the home in the old country and selling it out of the family and taking the money back to their relatively comfortable life in America. Fortunately he did the right thing and gave the home to his sister's family who were living in it. The point being that legalities are just one part of the picture.

Anyway I hope the OP gives an update. We frequently end up not knowing the end of the story on threads like this.
I agree for the most part.

It is impossible to know whether this is a surreptitious attempt at screwing them or doing them a favor, but by failing to inform the children overseas that they are the sole legal heirs and asking them to sign away all their rights they certainly make themselves look auspicious as hell.

Presumably the father was aware of Japanese inheritance law and if he had wished his estate distributed in a way other than the default he would have created a will that split his assets between his mother and siblings. That the money originated with jiichan doesn't give them any legal claim and no particular moral claim to it either. It ceased being jiichan's money when jiichan and it went to the OP's father. They should be screwed out of their rightful inheritance just because some relatives with no rightful claim want a second bite at the apple and...I strongly suspect... resent seeing it go to the gaijins overseas?
 
Top