How is property distributed when a Japanese person dies without a will?

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While it is always best to have a will prepared just in case, Japanese law provides a system by which the deceased’s assets will be transferred to his or her living relatives.

The order in which the deceased’s assets are distributed was designed as an attempt to mimic what the average person would have drafted in a will. The first level of recipients of the deceased’s assets will be any living spouse or children. Under Japanese law, the spouse is entitled to half of the estate, while the children will split the remaining half among them. If there is no living spouse or children, the assets are divided among the living grandchildren and parents. If there are no grandchildren or parents, the assets are divided among the deceased’s siblings.

If you have any questions about probate and inheritance in Japan, please contact our office for a legal consultation.