16/12/2022 16:24

Summary of 05 judgments related to illegal wills in Vietnam

Summary of 05 judgments related to illegal wills in Vietnam

According to the provisions of Vietnamese civil law, a will is an expression of an individual's will to transfer his or her property to another person after death. However, in fact, there are many cases where, even though a will has been created, it is still declared illegal, leading to the legal consequences of the will being annulled. So what is a legal will in Vietnam?

Article 630 of the Civil Code 2015 provides for legal wills as follows:

"1. A will must satisfy the following requirements in order to be lawful:

a) The testator was of sound mind when he or she made the will; and he or she was not deceived, threatened or coerced into making the will;

b) The contents of the will are not contrary to law or social morals and the will complies with legal formalities.

2. A will made by a person between fifteen and eighteen years of age must be made in writing and with the consent of the parents or guardian of such person.

3. A will made by a person who is incapacitated or illiterate must be made in writing by a witness and must be notarized or certified.

4. A written will which is not notarized or certified shall be deemed lawful only if it satisfies the requirements provided in Clause 1 of this Article."

An oral will is considered legal if the oral testator shows his or her final will in front of at least two witnesses, and as soon as the oral testator expresses his final will, the witness records it, signs it, or points it out. Within 5 working days from the date the oral testator expresses his or her final will, the will must be certified by a notary public or a competent authority to certify the signature or fingerprints of the witness.

Thus, all cases of wills that do not satisfy the above conditions will be declared illegal.

Below are the summaries of 05 judgments related to the declaration of an illegal will for you reference.

1. Judgment 210/2020/DS-PT dated September 28, 2020 on a dispute related to the request for annulment of the will

- Level of trial: appellate

- Judicial body: High People's Court in Da Nang

Summary of the case: Ms. E's parents, Mr. Le Phuoc Tr (who died in 2000) and Mrs. Tran Thi Th (who died in 2011), did not adopt children; neither of them had any children of their own, but they had six children together. In 2017, Mrs. Le Thi T returned to Vietnam from the US and let her sister Huynh Thi Phuong D stay at her house, so when the grandparents came to burn incense, Ms. D and Ms. D's brother, Huynh Minh A, interfered. In 2018, they just learned that real estate has been granted a certificate of land use rights by the Department of Natural Resources and Environment of Da Nang city for two brothers, Mr. Huynh Minh A and Ms. Huynh Thi Phuong D. When the grandparents complained, the District S Land Registration Office responded to the complaint, so they knew that Mr. T had made a will on June 14, 2001, to give all the land to Mrs. T. According to the grandparents, at the time of making the will, Mr. T was illiterate and ill and not aware of his actions, so the will was not legal. Ms. T then used this illegal will to make a document to declare her inheritance and to sign a land transfer contract for Ms. Huynh Thi Phuong D and Mr. Huynh Minh A, which was not in accordance with the law.

- Court's decision: Declare the inheritance declaration document dated July 21, 2017 by Ms. Le Thi T, certified by the Notary Public of Notary Public Office No. Y of Da Nang city, to be invalid.

2. Judgment 29/2020/DS-ST dated September 10, 2020 on the dispute asking to declare the will as illegal

- Level of trial: First instance

- Judicial body: People's Court of Thanh Khe district, Da Nang city

Summary of the case: According to the plaintiff, Mr. D, his sister, before she died, left a will with the following content: "Leaving the whole house and land used as a church, it is not allowed to sell, transfer, donate, mortgage, guarantee, or give it to his mother, Mrs. K1, to manage and use." Mr. D is the direct holder of the above-mentioned certificate of house ownership and land use rights, but Mr. Tran H arbitrarily led Mrs. K1 to report the loss of the book to issue a new book in her mother's name according to her sister's will. On December 1, 2015, Mr. H took Ms. K1 to make a will with the following content: "Leaving the whole house and land used as a church, not sold, transferred, donated, mortgaged, guaranteed, or assigned to Mr. Tran H for management and use." After the branch of the Land Registry Office in District K adjusted the change to Mr. Tran H's name, Mr. H bought a new lock, locked the door, and did not allow his brothers to enter the house to burn incense for his ancestors.

Accepting the lawsuit petition, the court rules that Ms. Nguyen Thi K1's Declaration of Will, notarized by Notary Office X, city D, under notary number 15076 TP/CC-SCC/HDGD on December 1, 2015, is not legal. 

3. Judgment 26/2020/DS-PT dated June 3, 2020 on property inheritance disputes and requests for cancellation of wills

- Level of trial:  appellate

- Judicial body: People's Court of Binh Thuan province

- Summary of the case: Plaintiff's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Tran Hong L, have nine children. In 1993, the old man's parents were weak, so they called their children to a meeting to resolve the dispute. Those who take care of their parents will inherit a land area of 2,192 m2 and 3,200 m2 of farmland, and a level 4 gratitude house with an area of 120 m2, and he has been the person who has directly taken care of his parents since then. His father died on August 28, 1999, and his mother died on July 3, 2008. After the deaths of his parents, Mr. S presented a Will of Inheritance Authorization made on June 2, 1999, and certified by the Chairman of Commune H on September 3, 1999. He confirmed that the will made on June 2, 1999, provided by Mr. S, was illegal.

- Court decisions: Declare: The "Inheritance Authorization Will" in the names of Mr. Tran Q and Mrs. Nguyen Thi L, made on June 2, 1999, and certified on September 3, 1999, by the People's Committee of Commune H, District B, Binh Thuan Province, is illegal.

4. Judgment on Dispute Claiming to Declare Wills Unlawful No. 23/2019/DS-PT

- Level of trial: appellate

- Judicial body: Tien Giang Province People's Court

- Summary of the case: Mr. Ngo Van C (deceased) is Mr. Ngo Van K's biological father. When he was alive, Mr. C's land was divided into the common property of a part of land with an area of 717.5 m2. On July 13, 2015, Mr. C made a will to donate the land plot to Ms. Nguyen Thi M.
According to Mr. K, at the time of making the will, Mr. C was not lucid because he was elderly, and the content of the will was not written by Mr. C but typed on a computer.
However, there was no witness while Mr. C could read and write; the probate procedure is not in accordance with the law, and the certificate of land use rights mentioned in the will is not available. The will-making process is not in accordance with Mr. C's will.
Therefore, Mr. K requested the Court not to recognize the will of July 13, 2015 as legal.

The Court's decision: Not accepting the petition of Mr. Ngo Van K." The will of Mr. Ngo Van C is valid.

5. Judgment 04/2019/DS-ST dated March 15, 2019 on the dispute of not recognizing the legal will and the request to cancel the certificate of land use rights

- Level of trial: First instance

- Judicial body: People's Court of Soc Trang province

Summary of the case: After Mr. K died, Mr. N1 and Mrs. N did not allow Ms. M and Mrs. M1 to use the house mentioned above and blatantly used the yard, fence, and locked door to prevent Mrs. M and Mrs. M1 from entering the house. Mr. N1 and Mrs. N said that Mr. K made a will at the People's Committee of Commune B on August 31, 2006, leaving the above house to Mr. N1 and Mrs. N.
On August 31, 2006, Mr. K was hospitalized and treated at J Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City. Mr. K's health condition was now awake, unconscious, and not being discharged or transferred by the doctor. Therefore, the will made on August 31, 2006, is not legal. Now, Ms. M and Mrs. M1 request the court not recognize the above will as legal.

- Court decision: not accepting the plaintiff's entire petition regarding not recognizing the will made on August 31, 2006, as legal. 

Phuong Uyen
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