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Updated : 2015-06-09

Matters that should be noted concerning succession in China

According to the Reply of Department of Consular Affairs of Ministry of Foreign Affairs concerning the Overseas Chinese and Foreigners Handling of the Formalities of Succession in China, the following aspects should be noted concerning foreigners inheriting estate in China:

(1) Foreigner who applies to inherit estate in China shall file an application for the notary certificate with the notary organ of his/her country of residence attesting the applicant’s occupation, address and kinship with the relevant party in China. This notary certificate is required to be authenticated by the Foreign Ministry of his or her country of residence or other official organs designated by the Foreign Ministry to handle authentication and to be also authenticated by the Chinese embassy or consulate stationed in that country.

(2) The applicant for notarization can come to China in person with the above-mentioned notary certificate authenticated by the Chinese embassy or consulate as well as the certificate of death of the decedent (together with a will, if any) and apply to the notary organ at the locality of estate to go through the formalities of inheritance. The notary office shall, after examination and verification of the relevant certificates, issue the Certificate of Right of Inheritance if it satisfied that the existing Chinese provisions on succession have been followed. The applicant can thereby go to the administrative department of estate (such as the department of housing management, banks, etc.) to handle the specific matters concerning the succession.

(3) If the main facts that need to be notarized occurred in China, the successor can also file an application for notarization with the relevant local notary organs in China and the notary organ can approve and issue the Certificate of Right of Inheritance.

(4) The applicant who cannot come to China in person can entrust his or her relatives or friends in China to handle the matters; if there are no relatives and friends in China, lawyer recommended by the legal advisory office at the locality where the property locates may be entrusted to handle the matters. In such cases, the applicant shall prepare a Power of Attorney. The Power of Attorney shall, apart from the name and address of the trustee, specify the limits of authority of the trustee, and the Power of Attorney is also required to go through the formalities of authentication as mentioned in Item (1) mentioned above.

(5) In case of disputes on succession, the applicant shall file litigation in the local people’s court at the locality of estate and to request the court to render a ruling.