Korean Wills: Korean Estate Law Basics

Like in most jurisdictions, the recognition of a will by a court of law requires precise formalities.  We advise that most people have a will.  For individuals with wills that shall be governed by Korean Law the formalities are noted below.  We have omitted two forms of wills – a will by audio recording and dictation. These types of wills pose issues of authentication of the decadent and we believe it is not advisable – in most cases. Korean Holographic Wills A Holographic will is a handwritten will.  For a holographic will to be enforceable in Korea the will should meet the following formalities: Written by the decadent Dated Signed Note the decadents name and address Sealed or contain a thumbprint. Additional details on holographic will may be found at: Korean Holographic Wills  Korean Notarized Wills Will is executed before a Korean notary Two witnesses should be present at the notary

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Grounds for Divorce in Korea: Korean Divorce Law Basics

Foreigners may file, in most cases, for divorce in Korea if one party to the divorce resides in Korea or the parties agree to the jurisdiction of the Korean Family Court or local Korean court.  Korean does not restrict those under SOFA, diplomats and non-permanent residents from filing for divorce in Korea. However, if the non-filing party to a divorce wishes to stay married, the filing party must prove that his or her hands are cleaner than the non-filing spouse and must establish adequate grounds for divorce.  The Grounds for Divorce in Korea are noted below.  The family courts, in Korea, have strictly interpreted the grounds for divorce. In most cases of foreigners divorcing, it is advisable to find a proactive Korean Divorce Lawyer. The reality is that few divorce lawyers in Korea are proactive and few are experienced with divorce among foreigners.  The English language capability coupled with experience,

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Wills, Trusts, Pre-Nuptial Agreements, Living Wills, and Power of Attorneys in Korea

We receive numerous calls requesting the notarization of wills, living wills, general and specific power of attorneys, prenuptial agreements and other like agreements and documents in Korea. These documents are, often, just pulled from the internet.  Pulling these documents from the internet is not adequate – in most cases. We, sometimes, notarize these agreements for clients, however, in most cases we refer the client to their local embassy in Seoul, since the embassy stamp has a far less chance of not being recognized in a foreign jurisdiction than a Korean notarial stamp.  We, often, also, advise a redraft of the document. This post was not written to tell you not to call me about notarial issues (actually don’t contact me about notarial issues unless your nation does not have an embassy in Korea- contact your embassy), but to be aware that many of the agreements and documents that I have

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Korean Child Abduction Law Explained

Child Abduction Law in Korea is a developing area of Korean law because of Korea’s Criminal and Family Law’s interaction with the recently ratified Hague Convention on the Civil Aspect of International Child Abduction and recent noted issues that have been covered in the local and international press.  Please note this area of law in Korea is developing and Korea’s child abduction jurisprudence is quickly developing and local law is necessary to consider with the interaction between the laws of the jurisdiction of the Mother and Father. One case sheds light on international child abduction law in Korea.  A Vietnamese Mother and a Korean Father with marriage difficulties were planning to divorce.  The Vietnamese Mother removed the child of the couple to Vietnam and returned to Korea for employment purposes.  The child was moved to Vietnam to be raised by the family of the Vietnamese Mother. The couple divorced after the alleged

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Korean Adoption Law Protests at Olympics in Korea

A good broadcast on issues with Korea’s Adoption Law may be found at: Channel 11 News.  We, regrettably, have handled litigation against the Korean government on issues related to adoption law.  Because of changes to Korea’s adoption law it is much more difficult to adopt children from Korea.  The number of abandoned children is on the rise and it doesn’t seem like Korean families shall pick up the slack anytime soon. The broadcast notes, in part, that: “Abandoned at a fire station in Seoul, South Korea, Dr. Eckerle says she is thankful that her adoptive family in Minnesota found her at 6 months of age. “I wouldn’t have had a family, I wouldn’t have had a chance for education or what I wanted to make of myself, which was to be a doctor and an advocate for children and for families, and I would not have had any of those

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Renouncing an Estate/Inheritance under Korean Law

A typical matter of a party renouncing an estate in Korea commences when a family member in Korea requests the waiver/disclaimer of the right to a Korean inheritance.  Sometimes the waiver is for a valid reason and sometimes the Korean-based family does not have a legitimate reason for the waiver other than self-interest. A, typical, situation involves an estate of a Korean national decadent with non-Korean family abroad.  The estate, often, includes assets in Korea and sometimes abroad. The Korean-based family, often, requests the non-Korean based family to sign a power of attorney or a document waiving the estate, thus, granting the Korean-based family total control over the estate without any guarantees of payment of the proceeds of the estate for the foreign-based family members. For a basic understanding of Korean Interstate Succession Law and Korean Inheritance Law see: Korean Inheritance Law.  The post provides a basic explanation of what

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Does Korea have Common Law Marriage?: Korean Common Law Marriage (De Facto Marriage) Basics

While the concept of a Korean Common Law Marriage (since Korea has no concept of a Common Law) does not exist, Korea has a similar law than the laws, in the States, often referred to as Common Law marriage.  FYI – few U.S. States recognize common law marriage. In Korea, the concept of Common Law Marriage is referred to as De Facto Marriage.  In Korea, all “legal marriages” are marriages that are registered at the local town office or recognized via marriage abroad (comity).  The De Facto Marriage is a limited exception to this “legal marriage” concept.  The following is a basic explanation of the major relevant aspects of Korea’s De Facto Marriage Law. Korean Common Law Marriage (De Facto Marriage in Korea) Situations A De Facto Marriage is recognized by a Korean Court, typically, in three different basic situations: The couple has publicized, announced or otherwise outwardly showed their

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Korean Inheritance Law: Who Inherits What, When & How in Korea?

If a decadent, governed by Korea’s Inheritance Law, dies without a will (intestate succession) the estate of decadent shall pass according to Korea’s Intestate Succession Law.  The key points of Korean Intestate Succession Law and Korean Inheritance Law is noted below.  We deal with many cases, at our law firm in Korea, where a Korean family member requests a U.S. or European family member to disclaim an inheritance.  Normally, a form is provided to the foreign family member.  We suggest understanding the situation and understanding what you are disclaiming.  For an article on this issue please see: Disclaiming an Inheritance & Renouncing an Estate in Korea.  Korean Intestate Succession Law Priorities under Korea’s Intestate Succession Law:  Direct descendants (children and grandchildren); Direct ascendants (parents and grandparents); Siblings (brothers and sisters); and Relatives within the 4th Degree. If a spouse survives the decadent and descendants survive within the First or Second

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English-speaking Korean lawyers and International Lawyers at International Law Firm in Korea discussing issues of Korean Law

IPG Legal is a leading client-focused international law firm with offices in Korea that is, often, selected over the ubiquitous Korean Law Firms when success is essential and success depends on nuanced street-smart advice, proactive  and unconflicted representation. Our attorneys are, intentionally. different from the crowd.  From our retired judge partners to our junior associates, we are all trained with an intense focus on client success, lawyer proactivity, and to understand the nexus between your commercial and legal needs. Our attorneys shall never push to you useless memos, non-nuanced legal advice or get you into litigation without an honest assessment of the merits and shortcomings of the matter. We are  – intentionally different from the crowd.  Globally Experienced – Locally Connected.  We are IPG.  Korean Legal Practices Korean Antitrust, Competition & FTC Arbitration, Int’l & Domestic Korean Civil Litigation Korean Criminal Defense Korean Corporate Law & Compliance Korean Employment, Labor &

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Korea Notarizations, Apostille, Powers of Attorney, Consularizations, Legalizations of Korean Translations and Documents

Our Korean lawyers at our law firm in Korea receive numerous emails requesting our services in assisting with either legalization of a Korean translation for use in court, authentication, notarization or apostille of a Korean, Chinese, American, British, French, German, Russian or other country document for either use in Korea or use in another country. We, normally, receive these calls from fellow attorneys, a financial institution or an individual with the need for an important document to be “legalized” for an important transaction.  Many times these documents are required for foreign or Korean courts, administrative agencies and quasi-government institutions.  Usually, the person contacting us believes the procedure shall take a trivial amount of time. Usually the party contacting us believes that we can just stamp the document and the matter is complete. We wish things were so easy. Often getting documents recognized by a Korean government entity or recognized by

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Obtaining Child Support in Korea from a Deadbeat Father (or Mother)

The, typical, situation occurs when a child is born out-of-wedlock and the father abandons the child.  Child Support in Korea may be obtained from these deadbeat fathers.  This situation is alarmingly common. The, typical, situation involves Philippine, Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Thai, and Southeast Asian country woman having children with Korean Nationals.  The Korean fathers are, typically, students or businessmen doing business in these countries.  The KOPINO issue has been publicized in the Korean media, however, few cases have been filed in Korea courts, seemingly, because of lack of knowldge of options available to these mothers.   Yes, mothers of children of these deadbeat fathers have options.  The option is to sue for child support in a Korean court.  The process is not so difficult and mothers may receive back child support from the father.  Prior to suing, the mother should obtain all contact details, identification cards and other information of

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Guardianship Law in Korea: The Lotte Family Conservatorship Saga Continues

With news late in 2016 that the Seoul Family Court Appointed a Law Firm as Legal Guardian for Shin Kyuk Ho, founder of Lotte Group, and the negative effect the ruling had on his elder son’s efforts to regain control of the conglomerates, it is a good time for business owners and their families to understand what guardianship law may mean for businesses and families in Korea. Guardianship Law in Korea The Adult Guardianship Act of 2011 of Korea in the main law, in Korea, creating a Guardianship/Conservatership System in Korea. Under the Guardianship Act of Korea, a family court, in Korea, may declare a person to be legally “limited-incapable” if, as a result of, inter alia, mental illness or disability, a person lacks the mental capacity to make his or her own decisions or will jeopardize the livelihood or their family’s livelihood in he or she does make decisions

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Getting a Divorce in Korea: Hire an English-Speaking Korean Divorce Lawyer?

The following Korean divorce information is provided by the Seoul Global Center.  Non-Koreans are capable of obtaining a divorce in Korea even if no party to the divorce is a Korean national.  In most cases you will be required to hire a proactive English-speaking Korean Divorce Lawyer. However, in many divorce cases, no divorce attorney in Korea will be needed.  However, in most cases involving non-Koreans, it is advisable to seek assistance from a divorce lawyer in Korea, because of the need, often, for among other things, a detailed marital separation agreement prior to divorce, language issues and the inability of the parties to resolve all matters in an amicable manner. I n all but the most contentious of divorce actions, the legal fees will not be a great burden. The following is a clip of the advice noted by the Seoul Global Center on the Seoul Global Center Blog. 

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Enforceability of Korean Executed Holographic/Handwritten Wills in Korea

Holographic wills are enforceable in Korea under Article 1066 of the Civil Act of Korea.  Our law firm is, presently, handling a matter concerning the estate of a decadent where the decadent executed a handwritten (holographic) will and the inheritors are Korean and foreign nationals. Holographic Wills This is a common issue for lawyers at our firm to handle – with the exception of the handwritten will issue. We, rarely, see cases, these days, of a testator that has executed a handwritten will.  This, however, was not so rare in the not so distant past. We, highly, recommend not utilizing a handwritten will and having a will formally drafted and executed.  However, in some cases where a testator is near death it may be advisable to execute a handwritten will quickly and, also, quickly, contact an attorney to get a formal will drafted and executed. Article 1066 of the Civil

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Korean Talent can Increase your Brand’s Exposure in the West by Dan Gardner

Football does funny things to people it, even, makes men cry. You can’t put into words the hollow feeling a Liverpool fan feels when losing to Manchester United fan – the feeling is akin to a death in the family. The transfer season in football is a stressful time for most football fans. Player transfers can generally make or break your team’s season, star signings by a manager can generally mean glory for fans and commercial bonanza for teams. A member of your national team is like the birth of a child in the family. Work stops and strangers come together to celebrate. Commercial strategies have become more apparent with each transfer season, with team’s now focusing on the commercial potential of the Asian fan base. The ‘shirt seller’ has become an important tool for European football teams. The ‘shirt seller’ has become a popular term coined by the big

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Grounds for Divorce in Korea: Judicial Divorces in Korea

Korean divorce law requires a petitioning spouse to prove “fault” that is attributable to the responding spouse for the breakdown of the marriage if the married couple is unable to agree to a divorce and all financial/custody matters are not resolved.  In a “divorce by agreement,” the married couple may, in many cases, divorce on the same day the divorce is filed to the Family Court.   If you spouse is unwilling to agree to a divorce (divorce by agreement), in Korea, or you are unable to agree to the financial/custodial terms of a divorce – a “judicial divorce” may be required.  Expats, in many cases, may file for divorce at a Korean Family Court if they have a significant connection to the country.  This includes, even, a marriage between two foreigners that did not occur in Korea or even a divorce that was not registered in Korea. As noted above,

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South Korea’s Adultery Law found Unconstitutional by Constitutional Court of Korea – Let the Parties Begin

The Korean Constitutional Court ruled, today, in a 7-2 decision that the long-standing law banning adultery was unconstitutional.  The Korean adultery law allowed up to a two-year jail sentence.   The Constitutional Court of Korea noted that “even if adultery should be condemned as an immoral act, state power should not intervene in an individuals’ private lives.”  The Court, also, noted that: “Considering the level of social criticism it is difficult to bring about the intended precautionary effects. In fact, the law has rather been used as a means of divorce for those who committed more faults yet wished to break the relationship, and, also, as a means of blackmailing erratic housewives.” The majority opinion released by the Court, also, went on to say that the law “violates individuals’ freedom to choose a sexual partner and their right to privacy. Not only is the anti-adultery law gradually losing its place

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International Parental Child Abduction: Korea Accedes to Hague Convention on Child Abduction

Korea has acceded to Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction, however, it is advisable if you have a spouse that you believe may abduct your child and bring the child into Korea, China or another jurisdiction to: Access the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP) via report the fact of the possibility of an abduction to the Department’s Passport Lookout System.If a passport is being applied for, the Passport Lookout System should notify you. You can find more information on these issues at Children Issues. The Department of State notes that: “We strongly discourage trying to take your child and bring him or her back home because this could: Endanger your child and others; Have a negative effect on any future legal action you might wish to take in that country; Result in your arrest and imprisonment in a foreign country where you are subject to local

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Adultery in Korea: Suspended Sentences Under Korean Law

News of the Korean authorities having blocked adultering spouse hook-up site “Ashley Madison” has been getting a lot of attention this month.  Citing moral issues, the Korean government blocked internet users from accessing the site from Korea.  Those that are more tech savvy can, obviously, get around this block. The Republic of Korea is one of the few countries in the industrialized world where adultery is a criminal offense and still punished.  It is, however, rare for someone to be imprisoned under the adultery law.  Only a few years back, however, imprisonment was not all that uncommon. It is notable that under this law, a guilty verdict does not necessary result in an immediate prison sentence.  It is actually very common in Korea for courts to suspend prison sentences, even when that party has been found guilty. While the Korean Criminal Act provides an adulterer be punished by imprisonment for

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Getting a Divorce in Korea Explained by U.S. Military

The U.S. Military in Korea drafted an excellent, basic, explanation of the divorce procedure in Korea. Divorce, in Korea, is possible even if both parties to the divorce proceedings are not Korean and were not married in Korea. As noted in the document, if you are involved in a contested divorce or are not willing to jump through the hoops at the Seoul Family Court in an uncontested divorce, promptly retain a lawyer. It is essential to obtain an attorney that has handled a significant amount of family law cases for expats. I advise retaining a Korean attorney that works hand-in-hand with a foreign attorney. The explanation of the divorce procedure in Korea can be found at: Divorce in Korea. Other posts on divorce/custody issues in Korea: Korean Divorce Checklist for Negotiating a Marital Separation Agreement in Korea Getting a Divorce in Korea: Hiring a Korean Divorce Lawyer ______Sean Hayes

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