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PRC Civil Code Series - 06: The Thing About Part VI Succession

Sun, 26 Jul 2020
Categories: Insights



China promulgated its first-ever Civil Code in May 2020,which includes seven parts, i.e., General Principles, Real Rights, Contracts, Personality Rights, Marriage and Family, Succession, Liability for Tort, and Supplementary Provisions. The Succession is its sixth part.

For related posts on the PRC Civil Code, please click here.

Previously, China has promulgated the Succession Law, which will be abolished accordingly on 1 Jan. 2021 when the Civil Code enters into force. 

Part VI Succession” is divided into four chapters: General Provisions, Statutory Succession, Testamentary succession, Legacy, and the Disposition of the Inheritance. 

We have selected some noteworthy points as follows:

1. Succession begins at the death of a decedent. After the succession has commenced, the inheritors shall handle the inheritance of the decedent according to the rules of statutory succession. However, if there is a will or a legacy-support agreement, the inheritors shall handle the inheritance according to such will or legacy-support agreement.

2. The rules for statutory succession are as follows:

(1) Men and women are equal in the rights of succession.

(2) Inheritance shall be inherited in the following order of priority: the first-order inheritors including spouses, children, and parents; second-order inheritors including siblings, grandparents, and maternal grandparents.

(3) After the succession has commenced, the first-order inheritors shall inherit to the exclusion of the second-order inheritors. If there are no first-order inheritors, the second-order inheritors shall inherit.

(4) Inheritors in the same order shall, in general, inherit in equal shares.

(5) Children include children born in wedlock, children born out of wedlock, adopted children, and stepchildren in a maintenance relationship. They have equal status.

(6) Parents include biological parents, adoptive parents, and step-parents having a maintenance relationship. They have equal status.

(7) Siblings include siblings with the same parents, half-siblings, adopted siblings, as well as step-siblings in a maintenance relationship. They have equal status.

3. Testamentary succession refers to that a natural person makes a will in accordance with the methods prescribed by law to dispose of personal properties and may appoint an executor of the will. If there are several wills and their contents contradict each other, the last will shall prevail.

4. A legacy-support agreement refers to an agreement signed by a natural person with an organization or individual other than an inheritor. According to the agreement, the organization or the individual shall assume the obligations to take care of the life of the natural person and handle the work related to his/her death as well as the funeral. Based on performing the obligations, the organization or the individual may enjoy the right to legacy.

5. Any inheritance which is left with neither an inheritor nor a legatee shall be owned by the State and used for public welfare undertakings.

6. An inheritor shall pay off the taxes and debts that the decedent should pay according to the law within the limit of the actual value of the inheritance obtained. 


The English translation of the PRC Civil Code is currently available for pre-order on China Justice Observer. If you are interested in a pre-order, please contact Meng Yu via e-mail at The PRC Civil Code of 110,123 Chinese words in total are translated into English, and the English translation (estimated at 60,000 words) is priced at US$ 4400. We will provide the English translation and the English-Chinese version within 2 weeks.


Photo by Eriksson Luo ( on Unsplash

Contributors: China Laws Portal Team

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