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CFM 101 Series: When A Parent Dies Who Gets the House in China?

Sun, 24 Oct 2021
Contributors: Meng Yu 余萌


The parent can specify in the will who inherits his/her house and other heritage. 

If he/she has no will, his/her children, spouse, parents, siblings, paternal grandparents, and maternal grandparents may inherit this house and other heritage.

Under Chinese law, the former is called Testate Succession, and the latter is called Statutory Succession.

1. Testate Succession

Anyone may, by making a will, dispose of his/her estate 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 estate to the State or a collective, or an organization or individual other than your statutory successor.

2. Statutory/Legal succession

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

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

(1) first in order: spouse, children, and parents. 

(2) 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.


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 (

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Photo by zhang kaiyv on Unsplash

Contributors: Meng Yu 余萌

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