Diet OK’s bill to help spouses of deceased remain in homes

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Diet passed a bill into law on Friday that takes steps to help people whose spouses die, including securing their place to live.

The House of Councillors approved the first drastic revision to the country’s inheritance legislation in about 40 years, by a majority vote with support mainly from the ruling bloc. The revision cleared the House of Representatives last month.

The revised Civil Code establishes the right of people to continue to live in their homes after their spouses die.

The right is given as an option to such people when the estates of their deceased partners are divided.

But the right is nonmarketable, and the value of homes assessed for inheritance tax purposes is expected to fall as a result. If partners choose to exercise the right, they are expected to inherit increased shares of savings and other properties.

Homes bequeathed before death or by will are excluded from estate division calculations for anyone in a marriage of at least 20 years.

The revised Civil Code also allows relatives other than those who inherit assets to demand money if they have provided care for the deceased before his or her death and meet other conditions.

Under the revised law, asset lists in wills can now be typed. Previously, only handwriting was accepted.


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