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How does a foreigner inherit real properties & bank deposit in China?

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Many of our client have this question: If the parents or close relatives passed away, what should be done with the property or bank deposits left behind in China?

In China, the handling of property and bank deposits left behind after the death of a relative can involve several steps:

  1. Death Certificate Authentication: The first step is to obtain a death certificate of your relative from the authorities. If the death certificate was issued in US, it needs to be translated into Chinese, and authenticated by the US Secretary of State and the China Consulate in US. The purpose of Death Certificate authentication is to proof the death of the decedent in order to notify the registration authorities in China.
  2. Inheritance Laws: China has specific inheritance laws and regulations that determine how a person’s estate is distributed among heirs. Generally, the spouse, children, parents, and siblings are considered potential heirs. The distribution may depend on the existence of a will and the relationships between the deceased and potential heirs. Notarization of right to inheritance can be done with the assistance of an agent in China so that the foreign heir(s) will not have to come to China themselves. For example, you can entrust a China lawyer to help you with notarization of your right to inheritance. But your power of attorney granted to your agent shall have to be notarized in your home State and authenticated by a Chinese embassy or consulate in US.
  3. Probate Process: If there is a will, it should be submitted to the appropriate authorities for validation. If there is no will, the estate may be subject to the laws of intestate succession. Legal procedures, such as obtaining a Certificate of Inheritance, may be necessary to transfer property and assets to the rightful heirs. For bank Deposits: The bank where the deceased held accounts should be notified of the death. The bank may freeze the accounts until the necessary legal procedures are completed. The legal heirs or designated beneficiaries can then provide the required documentation to claim the assets.
    • Property Transfer: The transfer of property involves legal processes and documentation. This might include obtaining a Certificate of Inheritance, transferring property titles, and paying any applicable taxes or fees.
    • Taxes and Fees: Inheritance and estate taxes may apply to the transfer of assets. It’s important to understand the tax implications and pay any necessary taxes or fees as required by Chinese law.
  4. IF YOU DON’T WANT TO INHERIT THE PROPERTY, we can help you draft a Declaration Statement to state that you voluntarily renounce your right to the estates or bank deposit.

Legal Assistance: Given the complexities of inheritance laws and the potential for disputes among heirs, it’s advisable to seek legal assistance from a qualified agency who specializes in inheritance and estate matters in China. We have more than 20 years of experience of help client to inherit property in China. Please call us at 1-800-959-1288 or email us at:

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