• Vietnam Property Guide

Property Inheritance

Updated: Dec 30, 2020

Vietnamese laws apply to inheritance issues by foreigners with assets in Vietnam, a process known as “renvoi.” Jurisdiction belongs to the authorities in the country where the assets are located, so conflicts with the foreigner’s nationality are avoided.


In Vietnam, any property that was acquired before marriage remains under separate ownership after marriage, unless the spouses have agreed otherwise. Any property acquired after marriage is under joint ownership status. International treaty regulations apply if one or both spouses are foreigners.

Inheritance


Note: As of July 1, 2015, laws on foreign ownership have changed. This now means that foreigners may also inherit Vietnamese property in the same way as Vietnamese citizens.


Before any property can be inherited, its ownership must be determined. Documents that prove the identity of the legal owner, including a residential house ownership certificate or land use right certificate, are preferred. If these are not available, Vietnamese authorities will also accept other documents, including sales contracts, wills and offer agreements, provided that these documents show the rights of ownership.

A person may donate property or assets prior to his or her death, as long as the donation is made in writing and has been notarized or certified. The receiver of the gift is required to register ownership of the property.


In Vietnam, any property that was acquired before marriage remains under separate ownership after marriage, unless the spouses have agreed otherwise. Any property acquired after marriage is under joint ownership status. International treaty regulations apply if one or both spouses are foreigners.


Heirs

Regardless of the contents of the will, certain persons, known as compulsory heirs, are entitled to inherit the estate of the deceased. The proportion of shares in the estate varies depending on the number of surviving compulsory heirs. Compulsory heirs include:

  • Minor children

  • Father and/or mother

  • Spouse

  • Any adult children who are incapable of working

If the deceased does not grant shares in the estate to any of the compulsory heirs, or grants less than two-thirds of the share than a compulsory heir should have received by law, then those heirs are entitled to claim their portions of the estate unless they have either disclaimed their inheritance or are not entitled to inherit the estate. An heir is no longer entitled to inherit any part of the estate if they can be shown to have:

  • Intentionally caused the death or ill health of the deceased

  • Seriously mistreated or abused the deceased

  • Intentionally caused the death of another heir in order to obtain all or a greater part of their entitlement to the estate

  • Deceived, coerced or obstructed the deceased from making the will

  • Forged, altered or destroyed the will

The exception to this would be if the deceased knew of these actions and still wished to select that person to inherit the estate.

If a minor under the age of 15 years old is involved in inheritance issues or civil transactions, a guardian can be assigned to protect his or her rights. The guardian is usually a relative of the child, but if there is no relative, the communal People’s Committee will nominate one.

Financial trusts do not exist in Vietnamese law, even for Vietnamese citizens. If a person wants to bequeath cash or property to a minor child, the guardian appointed by the person who makes the will may hold the property on behalf of the minor, and any cash can be deposited into a savings account with the executor or guardian appointed to hold the assets until the minor becomes of legal age.

Inheritance Taxes

Any inherited property exceeding VND 10,000,000 is taxed at a flat rate of 10 percent. However, exemptions from inheritance taxes are made in the case of income from the inheritance of real property to certain people, including:

  • Husband and wife

  • Parents and children, including adopted children and foster parents

  • Mother and father-in-law

  • Children-in-law

  • Grandparents

  • Grandchildren

  • Siblings

This article was prepared with the assistance of AV Law LLC, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Source: Angloinfo Vietnam

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