Nowadays, it seems like there are still many male chauvinists, especially some outdated ideas from the feudal period, such as ” female being relative on mother’s side ” meaning that a daughter born will not belong to the family line. So, in the event of the death of a parent, is this a reason for a woman to receive a smaller inheritance in Vietnam society? BLawyers Vietnam will analyze below.
1. Definition of inheritance rights
The inheritance rights are regulated in Article 609 of the Civil Code 2015. Accordingly, individuals with ownership rights to property have the right to make a will to dispose of their assets for their heirs after their death. If the will is not made, the asset will be given to the heirs according to the provisions of law.
Legal inheritance arises based on relationships such as marriage, relative, or adoption. Inheritance by will arises according to the will of the testator.
2. Cases not entitled to inheritance
Article 621 of Civil Code 2015 regulated persons who are not entitled to inherit, including:
i. Persons convicted of having intentionally caused the death of or harmed the health of the deceased, of having seriously mistreated or tortured the deceased, or of having harmed the honor or dignity of the deceased;
ii. Persons having seriously breached their duty to support the deceased; and
iii. Other cases provided by the laws
Pursuant to the above provisions, gender is not a factor in depriving an heir of the right to inherit.
3. The principle of equality in inheritance relations
Article 16 of the Constitution 2013 regulated that all people are equal before the laws and no one is subject to discriminatory treatment in political, civil, economic, cultural, or social life. In the spirit of the Constitution, Civil Code 2015 stipulated in Article 3.1 to clearly demonstrate this principle of equality which is every person shall be equal in civil relations, may not use any reason for unequal treatment to others and enjoy the same protection policies of law regarding moral rights and economic rights.
On the basis of general principles of civil laws, the principle of equality is reflected in Article 610 of Civil Code 2015, all natural persons are equal with respect to rights to bequeath their property to others and to inherit estates under wills or in accordance with the laws. Therefore, equality is expressed in the following aspects:
i. Spouses have the right to inherit each other’s inheritance when the other dies first. Article 651.1 of Civil Code 2015 regulated that the first line of inheritance includes the spouse of the deceased. Therefore, spouses will inherit each other’s inheritance and are entitled to each other’s first line of inheritance;
ii. Parents have equal rights to inherit their children’s inheritance. Article 651.1 of Civil Code 2015 also stipulated that parents are in their children’s first line of inheritance. Therefore, both parents have equal rights towards the estate regardless of male or female;
iii. Children, regardless of daughter or son, have the right to inherit their parents’ inheritance. The principle that daughters have the same inheritance rights as sons has been established by the laws since the feudal period and this principle has been still maintained in Civil Code 2015. For example, if a parent dies leaving an inheritance, the children will all belong to the first inheritance line according to article 651.1 of Civil Code 2015 and they are equally given the inheritance; and
iv. Other relatives of the deceased shall equally enjoy the inheritance of that person if they are of the same inheritance line. For example, grandparents have equal rights to inherit their grandchildren’s inheritance, regardless of grandfather or grandmother, paternal or maternal grandparents; grandchildren regardless of paternal grandchildren or maternal grandchildren, grandson or granddaughter always have equal rights when inheriting; biological brothers, sisters have equal rights when enjoying the inheritance without discrimination between brothers or sisters… as well as regardless of aunts, uncles when inheriting the inheritance, etc.
In conclusion, even if there is a concept of “female being relative on mother’s side”, the law still stipulates that a daughter is still in the first line of inheritance of her parents. Therefore, if the estate is divided according to the law, the daughter will still enjoy an equal share from her parents, except if she falls into the cases not mentioned in Section 2 above.