The following contents on this subject of legally secured portions are written in accordance with Japanese civil law.
I will write an outline of the “legally secured portion” in relation to the international law another time.
In my work as a Shihoshoshi Lawyer, I often have opportunities to talk with heirs and relatives about the inheritance procedure for the deceased person’s real property. Because of these experiences, I often think about my life and death through a number of legal proceedings. I don’t think I need to think about this too seriously, but as long as I am a human being, I will die one day, and when I do die, I hope that I avoid conflicts between my heirs as much as possible.
In my opinion, Shihoshoshi Lawyers, who are primarily working on non-conflicting cases and legal administrative matters, have a different perspective from Bengoshi lawyers, who are working on any cases including negotiating legal disputes.
In Japan, when a person makes a will or gifts real property to someone before their death, or divides their estate among the heirs after the inheritance occurs, there is often a problem about the “legally secured portion”.
The “legally secured portion” in Japan acknowledges the right of heirs other than the siblings of a deceased person to get a certain percentage of the estate, if the deceased person’s parent is the only heir, the fixed percentage is one-third of the entire estate. If a child is included among the heirs, he or she will be allowed a legally secured portion, even if the child is an adult. When a spouse or a child (or both) are included as an heir, the legally secured portions is one-half of the entire estate. The individual heir multiplies this entire estate by their individual legal percentage.
It is easy to say “a certain percentage” in words, but it’s hard to know what the extent their estate is at the time of death. Even if the heirs clarify what is the whole estate, if a conflict arises because one of the heirs keeps an excessive proportion of the estate, and they refuse to negotiate, the heir who thinks they have not received what is their right should take action in a court. However, it is not always possible for such an heir to be granted their full entitlement in accordance with their wishes.
In today’s nuclear families, it is common for different generations not to live together when children legally become adults at 20 (at 18 from 1st April, 2022), and there might not be many opportunities for them to see each other if they live separately. However, inheritances will always occur at some point. I think the best way to avoid a conflict is actually to find as many opportunities as possible to keep in close contact, see each other once in a while, and keep the relationship between parents and children alive. I believe that with rights always come obligations. I don’t think looking after parents is an obligation, but I do believe that this responsibility as a child exists to some extent.
Please refer to the article about “Estate and Succession planning – 1-7. Making a will Part 1 & Part 2”
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