[Korean Inheritance Law] Who Would Become Inheritors And What Shares The Inheritors Have
2022. 1. 13.
When someone dies, the inheritance of the deceased happens under the Korean inheritance law. If the deceased makes a will before he/she dies, the property and debt of the deceased are distributed by the will. However, if the deceased does not make a will, the distribution happens according to the rule of intestate succession from the Korean inheritance law. This law sets forth the rule, and according to the rule, people become beneficiaries in the following order:
-1st rank: Lineal descendants (children / grandchildren ...) and Spouse
-2nd rank: Lineal ascendants (parents / grandparents ...) and Spouse
-3rd rank: Brothers and sisters
-4th rank: Collateral blood relatives within the fourth degree
If there are two or more inheritors in the same rank and different degrees, the closest in the degree of relationship shall have the priority of getting inheritance and those inheritors who are two or more inheritors standing in the same degree of relationship become co-inheritors.
You may wonder why the spouse is in 1st and 2nd rank. The spouse is treated specially in rank. If there is no one in 1st and 2nd except the spouse, the spouse becomes the sole inheritor. However, if there is anyone in the 1st or 2nd rank, the spouse becomes the co-inheritor.
For example, if the deceased has a spouse, one child, and one grandchild, the grandchild can’t be an heir and the spouse and one child become co-inheritors.
Basically, the shares of the co-inheritors are all equal, but the spouse has an extra portion. The spouse has 50% more shares than those of other co-inheritors. Then the example above, the child has 2/5 of the inheritance shares and the spouse has 3/5 of the inheritance shares.
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