Necessity of a will, Testament in Japan
When you live in Japan, it is better to know about inheritance process of law of Japan.
Even if you are younger than me, you will die within 80 years.
In some countries, there is system of “”Right of Survivorship “”.
However there is not system in Japan.
You need to make preparation before you pass away.
Assumed that you own real estate in Japan.
Basically as far as real estate that is located in Japan is concerned, even if the deceased is not Japanese national, law of Japan shall be applied to inheritance.
Assumed the deceased ( assumed Mr.P ) has a wife and 2 children.
Statutory percentage of inheritance is as below.
Wife 50% of ownership
Child 1 : 25 %
Child 2 : 25 %
So, when Mr.P has deceased without a will, Last testament (Yuigon sho =遺言書) nor agreement among wife and children, P’s wife inherits 50% of ownership.
In the case persons ( foreign national ) shares ownership of real estate in Japan and if one of owner dies without making a will, testament, share of ownership is object of division among all statutory heirs.
If the person made a will, it is prior to agreement of division.
In the event X, Y, Z is statutory heirs and if the deceased ( Mr.p ) made a will that indicates only X inherits the legacy, even if X, Y, Z have made other agreement, content of a will is prior to such agreement.
So, if Mr.p hopes that only X inherits the real estate, he will make a will.
Formality of of a will ( = yuigon )
It is stipulated in “” Act on the Law Applicable to the Form of Wills “”.
Article 2 A will shall be valid in terms of form, style if its form complies with any of the following laws:
(i) the law of the place where the act ( = make a will ) was performed;
(ii) the law of the country where the testator had nationality, either at the time he/she made the will or at the time of his/her death;
(iii) the law of the place where the testator had domicile, either at the time he/she made the will or at the time of his/her death;
(iv) the law of the place where the testator had habitual residence, either at the time he/she made the will or at the time of his/her death; or
(v) in the case of a will concerning real property, the law of the place where the real property is located.
In the case X files registration of ownership transfer caused by inheritance, she needs to submit a will to legal affairs bureau in Japan.
So, it will be better to make a will based on the law of Japan.
As for form of a will, it is stipulated as below.
In civil code ( Minpou ) of Japan Article 967
Mr. P can make a will by holograph document, notarized document, or sealed and notarized document; provided that this shall not apply to the case where it is permissible to use a special method.
And a Will by Holograph Document is the easiest way.
How to make a Will by Holograph Document
Article 968 (1) To make a will by holograph document the testator ( Mr.P ) must write the entire text, the date, and his/her name in his/her own hand and affix his/her seal or signature ( in the case of foreign national ).
However, in the case Mr.P has deceased, all heirs need to submit the will and receive authorization from court house.
In this authorization process, X, Y, Z need to submit certificate that can specify all statutory heirs.
If there is not system of family register ( in most of countries, there is not such system ), it is not easy to collect such document.
A notarized will should be better
So, Mr.P can ask notary public ( in Japan ) to make a will.
Even if Mr.P can not understand Japanese language, if he can visit notary public office with interpreter, he can make a notarized will ( Kosei shosho yuigon ).
In the case of a notarized will, after Mr.P’s death, heirs do not need to acquire authorization from court house.
They can use the will without any process ( they still need to submit document that can certify Mr.P’s death ).
I will assist you to make a notarized will
Necessary documents to file ownership transfer registration caused by Inheritance (Souzoku=そうぞく）
Assumed that you (None Japanese national) own a real estate and become an inheritee in the future..
Even if you make a will based on law of your home country, your heirs can use the will（testament）when you pass away.
However, they (Heirs = そうぞくにん）need to take necessary process according to law of your home country.
(they may need to take some process in court house, probate)
● Necessary documents will be (in the case of foreign testament)
Your will and its translation.
(after completion of court house process)
Your death certificate
Birth certificate etc. of your heirs (the document proves they are your spouse and children)
Certificate of signature of your heirs (the document proves their address, name and date of birth)
Power of attorney for a lawyer.
Title deed of your real estate in Japan.
Certificate of Appraised value of real estate (issued by town office).
● In the case your heirs use notarised testament made in Japan.
When you can come to Japan, you can visit notary public office and request him to make a notarised testament.
Of course, they can not understand English language. So, my support may be convenient for you.
(in this case, process in court house is not necessary. So, it will be convenient for your heirs)
Your death certificate and its translation.
Birth certificate etc. of your heirs and certificate of residence
Title deed of this real estate.
Certificate of appraised value of real estate
Power of attorney