|Civil Code of the People's Republic of China (Part VI Succession)
|第六编 继 承
Part VI Succession
第一章 一 般 规 定
CHAPTER 1 GENERAL PROVISIONS
Article 119 This Part deals with civil relations arising out of succession.
Article 1120 The State protects the inheritance right of natural persons.
Article 1121 Succession begins at the death of a decedent.
If several persons who have inherited each other die in the same event and it is difficult to
determine the time of death, it shall be presumed that the person without any other successor dies
first. Where there are other successors and they are of different generations, the elder shall be
presumed to die first; if they are of the same generation, they shall be presumed to die at the
same time and no succession shall occur to each other.
Article 1122 The estate refers to the lawful personal property left over by a natural person upon
Estates whose inheritance is prohibited by law or by their nature shall not be inherited.
Article 1123 Succession shall, after it has commenced, be handled in accordance with statutory
succession provisions; where a will exists, it shall be handled in accordance with testamentary
succession or as legacy; where there is an agreement on legacy in return for support, the former shall
be handled in accordance with the terms of the agreement.
Article 1124 A successor who, after the opening of succession, disclaims inheritance should
make known his decision in writing before the disposition of the estate; if he does not do so, he shall
be deemed to have accepted the succession.
A legatee should, within 60 days from the time he learns of the legacy, indicate whether he
accepts it or disclaims it; in the absence of such indication within the specified period of time, he
is deemed to have disclaimed the legacy.
Article 1125 A successor shall be disinherited upon his commission of any of the following
1. Intentionally killing the decedent;
(II) killing any other successor in a dispute over the estate;
(III) the circumstances of abandoning or maltreating the decedent are serious; and
(IV) Forging, tampering with, concealing or destroying the will in serious circumstances;
(V) Compelling or obstructing the making, alteration or withdrawal of a will by fraud or
coercion where the circumstances are serious.
Where a successor commits any act specified in Items 3 to 5 of the preceding paragraph and
shows true repentance, and the decedent expresses forgiveness or is listed as a successor in his
will, the successor shall not lose the right of succession.
A legatee who commits any act specified in the first paragraph of this Article shall lose the
right to legacy.
第二章 法 定 继 承
CHAPTER 2 — LEGAL SUCCESSION
Article 1126 Men and women are equal in their right to inheritance.
Article 1127 Estates shall be inherited in the following order of priority:
1. The first sequence: the spouse, children, parents;
(II) Second in line: brothers and sisters, paternal grandparents, maternal grandparents.
When succession commences, the successor (s) first in order shall inherit to the exclusion
of the successor (s) second in order; in the absence of any successor first in order, the successor
(s) second in order shall inherit to the exclusion of the successor (s).
For the purposes of this Part, "children" shall include children born in wedlock, children
born out of wedlock, adopted children and dependent stepchildren.
For the purposes of this Part, the term "parents" includes biological parents, adoptive
parents and dependent stepparents.
The term "brothers and sisters" as mentioned in this Part includes brothers and sisters with
the same parents, half brothers and sisters, adopted brothers and sisters, as well as step-brothers
and step-sisters in maintenance relationship.
Article 1128 Where a decedent survives any child of his, the direct lineal descendants of the
decedent shall inherit the child in subrogation.
Where a decedent's brother or sister dies before his, the child (s) of the decedent's brother or
sister shall inherit in subrogation.
Descendants who inherit in subrogation generally shall take only the share of the estate to
which the descendant is entitled.
Article 1129 Widowed daughters-in-law or sons-in-law who have made the predominant
contributions in supporting their parents-in-law shall, in relation to their parents-in-law, be regarded
as successors first in line.
Article 1130 Successors belonging to the same order shall, in general, inherit in equal shares.
At the time an estate is distributed, due consideration shall be given to successors who face
special financial difficulties and are unable to work.
At the time an estate is distributed, successors who have made the predominant contribution
in supporting the decedent or have lived with the decedent may be given a larger share.
At the time an estate is distributed, successors who had the ability and were in a position to
support the decedent but failed to fulfill their duties shall be given no share or a smaller share of
Successors may take unequal shares if an agreement to that effect is reached among them.
Article 1131 An appropriate share of the estate may be given to a person, other than a
successor, who depended on the support of the decedent, or to a person, other than a successor, who
was largely responsible for supporting the decedent.
Article 132 Succession issues should be dealt with through consultation by and among
successors in the spirit of mutual understanding, mutual accommodation, amity and unity. The
timing of and method for partitioning an estate and the shares into which it is divided shall be
determined by the successors through consultation; where consultation fails, the people's mediation
committee may conduct mediation or institute legal proceedings in a people's court.
Chapter 3 Testamentary Succession and Legacy
Article 133 A natural person may, by means of a will made in accordance with the provisions
of this Law, dispose of his personal property and appoint a testamentary executor for that purpose.
A natural person may, in making a will, designate one or more of the statutory successors to
inherit his personal property.
A natural person may, by making a will, donate his personal property to the State or a
collective, or to an organization or individual other than his statutory successors.
A natural person may establish testamentary trusts in accordance with the law.
Article 134 A testator -written will is one made in the testator's own handwriting and signed by
him, specifying the date on which it is made.
Article 1135 A will written on behalf of the testator shall be witnessed by two or more
witnesses, of whom one writes the will which shall be signed by the testator, the person who writes
the will on behalf of the testator and other witnesses and dated.
Article 1136 Two or more witnesses shall be present at the scene when a will is printed. The
testator and the witness shall sign their names on each page of the will, indicating the date, month
Article 1137 A will made in the form of a sound recording and video recording shall be
witnessed by two or more eyewitnesses. The testator and witness shall record their names or portraits,
and the date, month and year in the audio and video recordings.
Article 1138 A testator may, in an emergency situation, make a nuncupative will. A will that is
made orally shall be witnessed by two or more witnesses. When the emergency situation no longer
exists and the testator is able to make a will in writing or in the form of a sound recording or video
recording, the nuncupative will he has made shall become null and void.
Article 1139 A notarial will is one made by a testator through a notary agency.
Article 1140 None of the following persons shall act as a witness to a will:
1. the persons having no capacity for civil conduct, the persons having limited capacity for
civil conduct and other persons having no witness capacity;
(II) Successors and legatees; and
(III) Persons whose interests are related to those of any successor or legatee.
Article 1141 Reservation of a necessary portion of an estate shall be made in a will for a
successor who neither can work nor has a source of income.
Article 1142 A testator may withdraw or alter a will he has previously made.
Where the testator performs the civil juristic acts that are contrary to the contents of the will
after the making of the will, it shall be deemed as withdrawal of relevant contents of the will.
Where several wills have been made and their contents contradict each other, the last one
Article 143 Wills made by persons with no capacity for civil conduct or with limited capacity
for civil conduct shall be null and void.
Wills shall manifest the genuine intention of the testator; those made under fraud or duress
shall be void.
A forged will is void.
Where a will has been tampered with, the affected parts of it shall be void.
Article 1144 Where there are obligations attached to testamentary succession or legacy, the
successor or legatee shall perform such obligations. Where any party fails to perform his obligations
without any justified reason, the people's court may, upon request by the interested party or relevant
organization, cancel his right to accept a part of the estate subject to collateral obligations.
Chapter 4 Disposition of Estates
Article 1145 After the commencement of succession, a testamentary executor shall be the estate manager; where there is no testamentary executor, a successor shall promptly elect an estate
manager; where no successor has elected a successor, the successors shall jointly act as the estate
manager; where there is no successor or the successors have abandoned the succession, the civil
affairs department or villagers' committee of the decedent's place of domicile shall act as the estate
Article 1146 Where there is any dispute over the determination of the administrator, any
interested party may apply to the People's Court for the appointment of the administrator.
Article 1147 A legacy administrator shall perform the following duties and responsibilities:
1. clearing the property and preparing a list of the property;
(II) To report the situation of the estate to the inheritor;
(III) Necessary measures shall be taken to prevent damage or loss of the estate; and
(IV) Dealing with the credits and debts of the decedent;
(V) Partition of the estate according to the will or the provisions of the law;
(VI) performing other acts necessary for the management of the estate.
Article 1148 A legacy administrator shall perform its duties in accordance with the law, and
shall bear civil liability for any damage caused to successors, legatees or creditors either intentionally
or by gross negligence.
Article 1149 The estate administrator may receive remuneration in accordance with legal
provisions or the terms of the contract.
Article 1150 After the opening of succession, a successor who has knowledge of the death
should promptly notify the other successors and the testamentary executor. If none of the successors
knows about the death or if there is no way to make the notification, the organization to which the
decedent belonged before his death or the residents' committee or villagers' committee at his place of residence shall make the notification.
Article 1151 Any person who has in his possession any property of the decedent shall take
good care of such property and no organization or individual shall misappropriate it or contend for it.
Article 1152 Where, after succession begins, a successor dies before the partition of the estate
and does not relinquish the inheritance, the estate which should have been inherited by the successor
shall be transferred to the successor, unless the will provides otherwise.
Article 1153 At the time a decedent's estate is partitioned, half of the joint property owned by
the spouses in common shall, unless otherwise agreed upon, be first allotted to the surviving spouse
as his or her own property; the remainder shall constitute the decedent's estate.
If the decedent's estate forms part of the common property of his family, that portion of the
property belonging to the other members of his family shall first be separated at the time of the
partitioning of the decedent's estate.
Article 1154 Under any of the following circumstances, the affected part of the estate shall be
dealt with in accordance with statutory succession provisions:
1. Where a testamentary successor disclaims inheritance or a legatee disclaims legacy;
(II) Loss of the right of inheritance by a testamentary successor or loss of the right of
legacy by a legatee;
(III) A testamentary successor or legatee dies or terminates before the testator;
(IV) Where an invalid will involves part of the estate; or
(V) Legacy not disposed of under the will.
Article 1155 At the time an estate is partitioned, reservation shall be made for the share of any
unborn child. If the baby is born dead, the share reserved shall be dealt with in accordance with
statutory succession provisions.
Article 156 The partitioning of a decedent's estate shall be conducted in a manner beneficial to
the requirements of production and livelihood; it shall not diminish the usefulness of the estate.
Where the estate is unsuitable for partitioning, it may be disposed of by such means as price
evaluation, appropriate compensation or co-ownership.
Article 1157 Any surviving spouse who remarries shall be entitled to dispose of the property he
or she has inherited; no organization or individual may interfere with this right.
Article 1158 A natural person may enter into a legacy -support agreement with an organization
or individual other than a successor. In accordance with the agreement, the organization or individual
shall assume the obligation of maintenance of life and death and enjoy the right to legacy.
Article 1159 The decedent shall pay off all taxes and debts payable by him according to law
when the estate is partitioned; however, the estate shall be reserved for any successor who neither
can work nor has a source of income.
Article 1160 Any estate which is left with neither a successor nor a legatee shall be owned by
the state and used for public welfare undertakings; where the decedent was a member of an
organization under collective ownership before his death, such estate shall be owned by such
Article 161 The successor shall pay off the taxes and debts payable by the decedent according
to law within the limit of the actual value of the estate obtained. Any amount in excess of the value
of the estate may be paid by the successors voluntarily.
The successor who disclaims inheritance is not liable for the taxes and debts payable by the
decedent according to law.
Article 162 The carrying out of a legacy shall not affect the payment of taxes and debts payable by the legator according to law.
Article 163 Where there are both statutory inheritance and testamentary inheritance or
legacy, the statutory successor shall pay off the taxes and debts payable by the decedent
according to law; the portion in excess of the actual value of the legally inherited property shall be paid off by the testamentary successor and the legatee according to the proportion of the property acquired.