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How Do I Get Money From My Deceased Parent’s Bank Account in China? - CFM 101 Series

Tue, 07 Dec 2021
Contributors: Meng Yu 余萌

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You should first determine whether you are the heir to the money in the bank account of your deceased parent. If you have an inheritance right to the money, you can ask the bank to pay the part inherited by you.

This post was first published in CJO FAMILY, which is committed to providing consulting services in China-based cross-border family matters services, including marriage and succession.

1. Do you have the right to inherit?

During the lifetime, one can specify in the will who inherits his/her money in the bank account, house and other heritage.

If the person has no will, the decedent’s children, spouse, parents, siblings, paternal grandparents, and maternal grandparents may inherit his/her money.

Under Chinese law, the former is called Testate Succession, and the latter is called Intestate Succession (also referred to as “Legal/Statutory Succession”).

(1) Testate Succession

Anyone may, by making a will, dispose of his/her money to any organization or individual and designate the inheritance.

In other words, in China, you can determine who inherits and how much by appointing the successor among the statutory successor, such as your spouse, children, parents, siblings, paternal grandparents, and maternal grandparents.

In addition, you may, by making a will, donate your money to the State or a collective, or an organization or individual other than your statutory successor.

(2) Intestate succession (Statutory/Legal succession)

In China, it is regarded as the intestate succession compared to the testate succession.

If there is no will, the money of a decedent shall be succeeded in the following order:

  • first in order: spouse, children, and parents.
  • second in order: siblings, paternal grandparents, and maternal grandparents.

When succession opens, the successor(s) first in order shall inherit to the exclusion of the successor(s) second in order. The successor(s) second in order shall inherit the estate in default of any successor first in order.

The right to inheritance is equal no matter what the sex is and whether they are the children born in or out of wedlock.

2. How do you ask the bank to pay the part inherited by you?

If the owner of a bank account dies, his/her heirs can get the money in the bank account.

When someone dies, who will be his/her heir? Who has the right to inherit his/her property? See “When someone dies Who gets his/her property in China?”

If you are the heir, how do you get the money in the bank account?

If you know the bank account and its password, you can withdraw the money directly, and share it with other heirs.

But if you can’t withdraw the money, what should you do?

First, you need to obtain the bank account information, then you need to prove your inheritance right to the bank, and finally, the bank will pay you the money in the account at your request.

(1) Obtain the bank account information

It would ideal if you know what bank accounts the decedent owns.

But if you don’t, you can request a Chinese court to investigate such information for you.

However, this requires you and other heirs to initiate an inheritance dispute lawsuit first.

Then, the court may carry out such an investigation during litigation.

(2) Proof of inheritance right

You can prove your inheritance right in the following two ways:

i. Notarization

You can apply to a Chinese notary office for notarization of the inheritance right, and provide it with the death certificate of the account owner and the kinship certificate between you and the decedent.

If you are not in China, you can apply to the Chinese embassy or consulate in your country for an authenticated death certificate and kinship certificate first, and then go through the notarization of the inheritance right in China.

ii. Litigation

As mentioned above, you and other heirs can lodge a lawsuit for inheritance disputes, that is, to bring a lawsuit before a Chinese court.

Then, the court will decide who has the right to inherit and what property will be inherited.

The court’s judgment can prove your inheritance right.

(3) Payment of deposits

You can ask the bank to pay you the deposit that should be inherited by you on the strength of the notarial certificate issued by the notary office or the judgment rendered by the court.

 

 

The Cross-border Family Matters 101 Series (‘CFM 101 Series’) provides an introduction to China-related cross-border family matters (marriage and succession), and covers the knowledge essential to cross-border family matter management.

 

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Do you need support in Cross-Border Family Matters (Marriage and Succession)?

CJO Family's team can provide you with China-based consulting service, including case assessment and management, background check, and debt collection (‘Last Mile’ Service). If you encounter any problems in cross-border family matters, or if you wish to share your story, you can contact our Client Manager Julia Yuan (julia.yuan@chinajusticeobserver.com).

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Photo by Chris Wong on Unsplash

Contributors: Meng Yu 余萌

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