"Inheritance to my mother who abandoned me when I was 5?"... Goo Hara law officials were different

A portrait placed at the funeral home of the late Goo Hara in 2019. Photo Collaboration Foundation

A woman in her 40s who lived without contact for 35 years after her mother left home when she was young. If this woman dies, will her birth mother receive her property? I still can't confidently answer 'no' to this question asked when the late Goo Hara passed away three years ago.

Recently, on YTN Radio's 'Attorney Yang So-young's Counseling Center', the story of a woman in her 40s who was worried that she might go through the same thing as Goo Hara was discussed. The mother of the storyteller, Mr. A, ran away from home when Mr. A was 5 years old because she could not stand her husband's incompetence and violence, and Mr. A and her brother had to spend their childhood at their aunt's house.

After the death of his father over time, Mr. A sought news of his mother, who had lost contact. Mr. A said, “She started a new family, had two children, and lived in harmony with her husband.”

But suddenly, Mr. A remembered this news. It was news such as “My mother who appeared after 30 years took the insurance money” and “My mother, whom I have lost contact with, is demanding inheritance.”

Mr. A said, “I feel frustrated thinking that this could be my story.” isn't there I want to inherit my property only to my aunt and brother who took care of me all my life, but I don't know what to do."

'Goo Hara Law' applies only to public officials... Public servants will also return personal property other than salaries in the event of a 'reservation claim'

At the time of Goo Hara's death in 2019, Goo Hara's mother through her lawyers demanded half of the sale price of the real estate that Goo Hara owned at the time of her death. Goo Hara's mother ran away when she was 9 years old, and she spent her childhood at a relative's house and lost contact for about 20 years.

At that time, there was a movement to urge the revision of the current Civil Law Inheritance Act, led by Goo Hara's older brother. This is because there is no special provision in the current inheritance law that limits inheritance qualifications when parents do not fulfill their parenting duties. The grounds for disqualification of the heir were also limited to extreme cases such as murder or injury, fraud/obsession, and forgery/falsification.

A bill was proposed in 2020, during the 20th National Assembly, but was scrapped without even crossing the threshold of the Legislation and Judiciary Committee. The discussion took place again.

In January 2021, the Ministry of Justice made a legislative announcement, and in June, there were some achievements such as the passage of the bill by the State Council and submission to the National Assembly, but it has not yet been implemented.

Currently, public officials are 'partially' subject to the Goo Hara Law. This is because the Public Officials Accident Compensation Act and the Public Officials Pension Act, also known as the "Public Official Goo Hara Act," have been passed and are in effect. When a public official or a person who was a public official who can receive disaster survivors' benefits passes away, the law allows all or part of the benefits to be withheld through deliberation if the parents who were responsible for raising them fail to do so. In August 2021, the law was applied for the first time to the birth mother of the late firefighter Kang Kang-eol, who died in 2019 while working as an emergency responder.

However, non-governmental civilians have no choice but to face an embarrassing situation or go to court when their parents, whom they have lost contact with, show up and demand property in the event of a sudden death. Even if they are public servants, they are put in the same situation as civilians because they follow the civil law regarding personal property other than their salaries. It is because of the 'oil content' guaranteed by the current civil law.

The retained portion guarantees the heir to acquire a certain portion of the property of the deceased. According to Article 1112 of the Civil Act, 1/2 of the statutory share of inheritance for lineal descendants/spouse, and 1/2 of the statutory portion of inheritance for lineal descendants/brothers and sisters Acquisition is guaranteed for one-third. It was also thanks to this law that Goo Hara's biological mother was able to demand 'half' of the real estate sale price.

There are measures that can be taken before life, before a claim for fuel comes in. Attorney Kim Seon-young said, “There is also a way to make a gift in advance or to make a will to inherit property to a specific person. In the case of a will, it is good to prepare a will in accordance with Article 1060 of the Civil Act, a will by a notarial document, a recording, a secret document, or a written testament. If you have insurance, you can also designate a beneficiary in case of death,” he explained.

However, even if these measures have been taken in advance, if a claim for fuel is received, at least a portion of it must be returned. These measures are only a device that can 'minimize' the amount of oil when a claim for oil is received.

Attorney Kim said, “According to the current civil law, even if property is bequeathed to some of the heirs by will or trust, within one year from the date the holder of the right to retain knowledge of the commencement of inheritance and the bequest to be returned, and within 10 years from the commencement of inheritance, the claim must be made. If you exercise it, you must return the share corresponding to the portion of the oil.”

In the legal world, it is pointed out that the oil division system needs to be constantly improved. Attorney Kim said, "If the Goo Hara Act is passed, it will be possible to supplement the inheritance division system in a way that will result in the loss of inheritance rights for parents who have failed to fulfill their child support obligations." However, in 2022, the Goo Hara Act is still dormant in the National Assembly (pending).