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How Does Succession Work in China?

In China, there are two forms of succession, intestate succession (statutory succession) and testate succession.

Intestate succession applies if the decedent does not make a will. In this case, the estate will be inherited in the following orders:

(1)First-order inheritors(heirs), spouse, children, and parents;

(2)Second-order inheritors: siblings, paternal grandparents, and maternal grandparents.

When succession opens(begins), the first-order inheritor(s) shall inherit to the exclusion of the second-order inheritor(s). The second-order inheritor(s) shall inherit the estate in default of any first-order inheritor. In general, inheritor(s) in the same order shall inherit in equal proportions.

Men and women are equal in their right to inheritance. Children born in or out of wedlock, adopted children, stepchildren, blood parents and adoptive parents, and stepparents are also equal in their right to inheritance.

If the decedent makes a will, the succession shall take place in accordance with the will.

A natural person may, by making a will, designate one or more of his/her statutory inheritor(s) to inherit his/her estate. A natural person may, by making a will, donate his/her estate to the State, collectives, or organizations or individuals other than his/her statutory inheritor(s).

References: Articles 1126, 1127, 1130, and 1133 of the Civil Code



Cover Photo by Yogurt Yogurt ( on Unsplash


Contributors: CJO Staff Contributors Team

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