Because of dissatisfaction with the content of the will made by his deceased father, the man swallowed up the original will while fighting with his stepmother. Unexpectedly, the stepmother took the copy of the will to court. Recently, the Deqing County Court concluded this special case of inheritance right dispute, and found that the copy of the will is valid.
In October 2019, Lao Chen died of illness. His son, Xiao Chen, without the knowledge of his stepmother, Liu, arbitrarily received his death funeral allowance, one-time pension and the balance of his account, and seized all his identity and death certificates.
After the arrangement of his affairs, the inheritance of his legacy was put on the table, especially the issue of the share division of his living house. There was a big dispute between Xiao Chen and Liu.
The suite was built by Mr. Chen, his ex-wife and his son, Xiao Chen, in 1995. In 2007, Lao Chen and his ex-wife signed a “divorce agreement” when they went through the divorce registration procedures, stipulating that the house should be owned by Lao Chen after the divorce, and the ex-wife would solve the housing problem on her own. Two years later, Lao Chen and Liu came together.
When Xiao Chen and his relatives came to Liu to fight for the inheritance, Liu took out a self written will made by Chen when he was seriously ill in 2019. It was written in black and white that “all property belongs to Liu”.
Xiao Chen didn’t approve of the will. To everyone’s surprise, he snatched the will, put it into his mouth and ate it three or two times. This action made the contradiction between the two sides intensified instantly. Liu then filed a small petition to the court, demanding to inherit the house left by old Chen.
During the trial of the case, Liu issued a copy of the will to the court, “the will was written by Lao Chen in person, and there were two witnesses’ signatures. But the original will was swallowed by Xiao Chen. Xiao Chen also admitted in court that the original will was indeed swallowed up by him, and the fact that the will was swallowed by Xiao Chen was also corroborated by two witnesses in court.
The court held that
Although the will written by Mr. Liu was a copy, Xiao Chen admitted that he had swallowed the original in the court trial, and two witnesses supported this fact. Therefore, the Court confirmed the authenticity of the will.
However, although it was agreed that the house should be owned by Lao Chen when he divorced his ex-wife, he did not obtain Xiao Chen’s consent. The split agreement is only valid for the share of housing owned by Lao Chen and his ex-wife. Moreover, in the process of hearing the case, Mr. Chen’s ex-wife, as an outsider in the case, confirmed that “there is no objection to the ownership of the housing shares owned by Lao Chen”, and said that she would not participate in the lawsuit. Therefore, the Court confirmed in accordance with the law that Lao Chen owned two-thirds of the share of the house and Xiaochen owned one-third of the share. That is to say, only two-thirds of the share of the house belongs to the heritage.
In addition, because Chen’s funeral expenses were paid by Xiao Chen, and the sum was more than the sum of death funeral allowance, one-time pension and the balance of account, Liu should compensate Xiao Chen a part of the money.
The court of Deqing finally ruled that the two parties should divide the property according to the contents of the will. Two thirds of the house shares owned by Mr. Chen should be inherited by Liu, the successor of the will. After the house is sold, both parties will divide the money according to the inheritance share.
After the sentence was pronounced, both parties served the sentence and did not appeal.
Dissatisfied with the father left the house to his stepmother, the son ate the will on the spot. Is the copy valid?
Will is a legal act made according to one’s own will before the decedent’s life and has legal effect after his death. It is a legal form of disposing his own legal property before his death. It is illegal to forge, alter or destroy wills. It is an intentional act for the legal heirs or other stakeholders to destroy wills by burning, tearing or even eating wills directly. The purpose of destroying wills is to make inheritance beneficial to them. This kind of behavior seriously violates the social morality, seriously violates the testamentary freedom right of the decedent, and makes the ownership of the estate against the real will of the testator. Therefore, according to the law, if a will is forged, altered or destroyed, if the circumstances are serious, the right of inheritance will be lost.
In this case, before his death, in order to prevent family conflicts, he wrote his will in the presence of relatives and friends. Xiao Chen should respect the wishes of the old man before he died. It is not advisable for him to swallow the will directly in order to fight for the inheritance. During the trial of the case, he admitted his mistakes because he felt the authority of the law. Finally, the Court confirmed that the copy of the will provided by Liu, the stepmother of Xiao Chen, was valid. After the decedent’s death, the house was divided according to the content of his will written by himself, and the judgment supported Liu’s petition.
Family love is priceless and cannot be measured by money. Once there is a dispute and dispute, we should protect our rights and interests through legal channels to avoid impulsive actions, and the gains outweigh the losses.
The inheritance law of the people’s Republic of China stipulates that:
Article 2 succession begins at the death of the decedent.
Article 3 heritage is the personal legal property left over by a citizen at the time of his death, including:
（1） Income of citizens;
（2） Citizens’ houses, savings and daily necessities;
（3） Citizens’ trees, livestock and poultry;
（4） Cultural relics, books and materials of citizens;
（5） The law allows citizens to own the means of production;
（6） The property rights of citizens in copyright and patent rights;
（7） Other lawful property of citizens.
Article 5 after the beginning of succession, it shall be handled in accordance with the statutory succession; if there is a will, it shall be handled in accordance with the will or legacy; if there is an agreement on legacy support, it shall be handled in accordance with the agreement.