Choices about how to succeed

Japanese business start-up consultant

It was after my grandfather’s death that I first became aware of the “inheritance process”. I was already married at the time, and I had never cared about the “law” itself until then. At that time, when my family got into trouble with the division of the estate, I realised that “The law was something that costs money and time, and if I hadn’t prepared for it beforehand, the situation wouldn’t proceed as I want”. That’s why I started studying for the Shihoshoshi lawyer’s exam. Now I am working as a lawyer.


In the past, it was the standard practice for the eldest son to inherit the family’s estate, but today, each heir has the right for a certain portion of the estate. I would like each individual to come to understand the options for the estate succession, and they can make their own choices about how to succeed.


Specifically, the following options could be possible.

  1. Leave it to the potential heirs after death. (This is the current mainstream.)
  2. Make a gift in advance.
  3. Leave a will.
  4. Coming to an agreement into effect before death or by a will.
  5. Using the adult guardianship system.


Every procedure has its pros and cons, and as long as we are alive, we have different individual feelings. It would be impossible for others to understand a person’s heart 100%, but I believe it is important for a lawyer to make an effort to understand individuals’ feelings, feel empathy to their thoughts, and achieve their plan within the framework of the law.


Rather than us not caring about our inheritance problems, we might be so busy in our daily lives that we don’t have time to think about the death of a parent, grandparent or our own death. However, it will definitely happen at some point in the future.


The judicial statistics for 2018 shows that about 76% of the cases that are brought to family courts nationwide are ones of estates under 50 million YEN (equivalent to about 360,000 UK pounds). Any conflict regarding distributing an estate is not uncommon, and all of us might encounter it.

I try to be proactive about inheritance-related procedures and succession planning as my motivation for becoming a lawyer is related to my family’s inheritance issues.


As part of the process, I often talk to a client about how to start their succession planning. I believe that succession planning is a “letter to the family or people who will be heirs or beneficiaries”. My advice is to encourage my clients to write it like a letter first if they don’t know how to distribute their property,


Documents should be finalised under the appropriate law because a succession planning is a legal process, but perfect documents cannot be prepared from the beginning, and the writing from your heart is most important. After that, leave the process to the experts. I want to follow the person’s heart as best I can.


I will update every Monday.
For more information
Japanese business start-up consultant
Shihoshoshi Lawyer
(Judicial Scrivener)
Akiko HORI

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