22/07/2022 09:52

When will a stepchild inherit from a stepmother or stepfather in Vietnam?

When will a stepchild inherit from a stepmother or stepfather in Vietnam?

The relationship between stepmother, stepfather, and stepchild is always a sensitive issue. In fact, there are many cases where stepmothers, stepfathers, and stepchildren abuse and harass each other, but there are also cases where they live in harmony and love each other like parents and children. So, for this sensitive relationship, will the stepchild inherit the inheritance of the stepmother or stepfather?

Specifically, in the Judgment  07/2018/DS-ST dated March 26-29, 2018 on inheritance disputes, which:

“Mr. Dam Van C1 was born in 1922, died in 1996, his eldest wife, Nguyen Thi B1, died in 2008; Mr. Nguyen Thi B's second wife died in 2016. Mr. B1 had no children in common with Mr. C1, when he died, neither of them left a will. Mr. B and Mr. C1 gave birth to 3 children respectively: Dam Thi T, born in 1959; Dam Van V, born in 1963, and Dam Van C, born in 1963. In addition, Mr. B also has a stepchild, Nguyen Van N, born in 1959. 

 According to the testimony of the litigants and the verification documents of the Court, although Mrs. T and Mr. V are the children of Mr. B and Mr. C1, since childhood, they have lived in the same house and are taken care of and nurtured by Mr. C1 and Mr. B1. When B1 and Mrs. T died, Mr. V had the same responsibility to take care of the funeral, so there were grounds to determine that between Mrs. B1 and Mrs. T, Mr. V had a caring and nurturing relationship.

The trial panel determined: that Mr. B1's estate has VND 97,754,400 (VND 81,462,000 is the payment of common property with Mr. C1 + VND 16,292,400 is the part B1 inherits from Mr. C1); determine that Mrs. B1 and Mrs. T and Mr. V have a nurturing relationship in accordance with the provisions of the law on inheritance. The decision on the division of inheritance according to the law of the inheritance of old man B1 to Mr. V and Mrs. T each enjoys ½ = 48,877,200 VND.

Regarding inheritance between stepchildren and stepmothers and stepfathers,  the 2015 Civil Code  of Vietnam provides as follows:

"Article 654. Inheritance relations between stepchildren and their stepparents

If a stepchild and his or her stepparents care for and support each other as though they were biologically related, they may inherit each other's estates and may also inherit in accordance with articles 652 and 653 of this Code."

"Article 653. Inheritance relations between adopted children and their adoptive parents and biological parents

An adopted child and his or her adoptive parents may inherit each other's estates and may also inherit in accordance with articles 651 and 652 of this Code."

"Article 651. Heirs at law

1. Heirs at law are categorized in the following order of priority:

a) The first level of heirs comprises: spouses, biological parents, adoptive parents, offspring and adopted children of the deceased;"

Therefore, when it is proved that between a stepchild and a stepfather, there is mutual care and nurturing relationships, stepchildren will also inherit according to the first line of inheritancelike other offspring without any distinction.

In conclusion, this is a practical and humane regulation in life; To stepchildren, stepfathers, and stepmothers who, although not related by blood, live together and have responsibilities for each other like father and son, mother and child, the benefits to be enjoyed do not distinguish between stepchildren or common children.

Sang Nguyen

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