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Heirs Alerted by Pending Inheritance Clause Amendment



Following the Constitutional Court's directive to the National Assembly for legislative revisions regarding inheritance, legal disputes among parties involved in inheritance cases are expected to escalate. Until now, the absence of specific regulations concerning the loss of inheritance rights or contribution shares has led to ambiguity. However, with the concrete provisions outlined in the amended Civil Law, new contentious issues may arise, such as claims for the return of inheritance shares.


Courts, which have traditionally been conservative in assessing contribution claims in property division cases, may now be inclined to issue more progressive rulings in light of the Constitutional Court's decision and legislative amendments.


The Constitutional Court pointed out three main unconstitutional aspects related to the inheritance system. Firstly, the provision in Civil Law Article 1112(4) granting inheritance rights to siblings was declared unconstitutional. Secondly, the inadequate regulations regarding the loss of inheritance rights for family members who have not fulfilled their duties of support or care (Article 1112(1)-(3)) were criticized. Lastly, the failure to consider the contribution of family members who have supported the deceased or contributed to the increase of property (Article 1118) was deemed unconstitutional.


Legal experts anticipate that the recent Constitutional Court decision will increase the burden on trial judges in factual cases and emphasize the need for their greater discretion in distributing property fairly and reasonably.


The introduction of the inheritance system aimed to prevent the serious social problems associated with the concentration of wealth that were prevalent at the time. However, recent trends, such as the emergence of "undeserving heirs," highlight the need for legislative improvements.


Despite the unanimous ruling, there are still contentious issues that could lead to further legislative action. For instance, the provision stipulating that all donations affecting the inheritance of other family members should be included in the calculation of the inheritance base regardless of timing (Articles 1114 and 1118). While the majority of judges emphasized the protection of inheritance rights over transaction security, dissenting judges raised concerns about potential legislative improvements.


The calculation of donated property values based on the time of inheritance commencement may lead to unfair results due to inflation rates and real estate value increases. Particularly, concerns were raised regarding the inclusion of donations to public interest organizations or business shares for succession purposes in the inheritance base.


In conclusion, while the recent Constitutional Court ruling provides some clarity, it also underscores the need for further legislative consideration. The dissenting opinions, particularly regarding the calculation of inheritance bases and the exclusion of donations for business succession or public interest, warrant attention in future legislative revisions.


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