A Chinese Inheritance

25 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2017

See all articles by Thomas Simmons

Thomas Simmons

University of South Dakota Knudson School of Law

Date Written: February 6, 2017


A society's values may be discernible in its intestacy laws, the laws which govern the distribution of a decedent’s estate when there is no valid will. Upon examination, unique characteristics among competing intestacy schemes emerge. The most startling characteristic of Chinese inheritance law is its willingness to invoke judicial review of an heir’s conduct in settling upon distributions. American succession law also considers an heir’s conduct, but it does so sparingly and formalistically. Chinese conduct-based intestacy is widespread and fluid. This article contrasts American and Chinese approaches to conduct-based intestacy, identifies the underlying competing policies and values in play, and summarizes five recent Chinese judicial opinions as a way of assessing the operation of Chinese conduct-dependent intestacy.

Keywords: Intestacy, Comparative Law, China, Succession, Conduct-based

JEL Classification: K10, K19

Suggested Citation

Simmons, Thomas, A Chinese Inheritance (February 6, 2017). Quinnipiac Probate Law Journal, Vol. 30, No. 1, 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2947745

Thomas Simmons (Contact Author)

University of South Dakota Knudson School of Law ( email )

414 E. Clark Street
Law School suite 212
Vermillion, SD 57069
United States
605.658.3533 (Phone)
605.677.5417 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.usd.edu/faculty-and-staff/Tom-E-Simmons

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