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Inheritance in USA

  1. In the United States, inheritance proceedings are carried out through the Probate Court having jurisdiction over the place of residence of the deceased.

  2. If there is a will, the executor must initiate the Probate procedure. In the absence of a will, the person with priority among the heirs is appointed as the Administrator and proceeds with the procedure.

  3. If there is an objection to the will, the litigation will proceed by submitting documents stating the grounds for invalidation of the will to the court while opposing the nomination of the executor of the will.

  4. If all of the property of the deceased is community property, a spousal property petition can be expedited in California Probate court.


There are many cases in which a will was signed even though the testator had dementia, and  lawsuit was filed with the court to contest the will with respect to a will that was written without complying with the requirements for  execution of the will by the Probate Code.



  1. If you create a trust and transfer the title of the real estate to the trust, you can save the time and money because you do not have to go through the probate  process in the probate  court.

  2. If you transfer your property to your spouse or children through an irrevocable trust, you can keep your property safe even if you get sued while doing business.

  3. Trust is only available for the property in USA, and Korean property cannot be registered with the US trust.

  4. Trust can be written in various ways according to the situation of the grantor, so if you tell us your situation in detail , we will customize it accordingly

Inheritance of Korean Property

A. Executing a will:

  1. You can also execute a will in the United States for property in Korea.

  2. There are strict legal requirements for executing a will. Therefore, it is safe to draft exactly according to the requirements of the civil law with the insturction of a professional lawyer.

  3. In Korea, if you execute a notarized will, you can transfer the title of the deceased  right away without going through the court's probate process. So, even if you are drafting a will in the United States, it is cost efficient  to make a notarized will.


There are many cases in which real estates in Korea were inherited by executing a will in the United States without visiting Korea. Inheritance registration was done by the agent through notarization and apostille, and a will was written a few days before the death of a cancer patient in USA, and inheritance registration was successfully carried out through the will in Korea.

B. Title transfer by Inheritance process:

  1. Title transfer by Inheritance process must be made within 6 months of the death of the owner.

  2. Acquisition tax, registration tax, bond discount cost, etc. should be  paid.

  3. U.S. citizen in the United States can prepare  a power of attorney, signature confirmation, proof of residence, and proof of identity in USA , and an agent in Korea can proceed with the title transfer by Inheritance process in Korea.

  4. In the process of the title transfer by Inheritance  in Korea, if there is a will, the devisee will inherit the property , and if there is no will, the  spouse and children of the deceased will inherit the property.

  5. Through the inheritance division agreement,  some of the heirs can give up and the others may inherit the estate.

  6. In order to reduce the inheritance tax, it is necessary to research an appropriate method when negotiating the division of inheritance.

  7. If the deceased person is more likely to have more debt than asset, it is safe to give up inheritance or get contingent inheritance.

C. Estate tax:

  1. Residents in Korea must report and pay Estate tax within 6 months of death.

  2. Residents in Korea can deduct a lump sum deduction of KRW 500,000,000 and spousal deduction of KRW 500,000,000 up to KRW 3 billion, but for overseas residents, only a lump-sum deduction of KRW 200,000,000 is available and there is no spousal deduction.

  3. In the United States, US citizen residding of nine community property states, such as California, Texas , can reduce the Estate tax by half by claiming that half of the property in the deceased's name belongs to the surviving spouse because the property in Korea is also community  property.

  4. Nevertheless, if Estate tax is imposed on the entire Estate , the refund can be obtained through a tax adjudication request or administrative litigation within 90 days.

D. Claim for guaranty of one half of inheritance share

  1. The half of the statutory inheritance share is guaranteed. This is called  Yurubun in Korean. If the deceased transfers his or her property to a specific heir or a third person through a bequest or gift during life, the statutory heir who has not received half of the statutory inheritance is can claim a third party or the specific heir who received the gift  to return the half of the statutory inheritance share.

  2. Requests for the half of the statutory inheritance share must be made within 10 years after the death of the decedent and within 1 year from the day that the guaranty of one half of inheritance share is found to be infringed.

Korean Property
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