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.
Simmons, Thomas E, A Chinese Inheritance (February 6, 2017). Quinnipiac Probate Law Journal, Vol 30, No 1, 2017.