[Updated on January 28, 2021]

Under the Korean inheritance law, the inheritance comes to fruition immediately when a person is deceased. The Korean inheritance law, the part V of Civil Act, provides who shall become the inheritor and beneficiary of the property of a deceased person, i.e. estate.

The inheritor and beneficiary, however, shall not always take everything from the estate. There are separate rules and restrictions on the distribution of the estate in South Korea.

In this article, we will explain to you the basic rules and practices of inheritance in Korea.

Who Shall Become the Heirs and How to Distribute the Estate under the Korean Inheritance Law

The basic rule of the Korean inheritance law is that the property of the deceased is distributed according to his or her will.  So, a person who is not categorized as an inheritor by law can become a beneficiary of the estate by the decedent’s will. 

What if there is no valid will?  The Korean inheritance law sets forth the rule of intestate succession.  This rule of intestate succession names the beneficiary and the shares of each beneficiary for a distribution purpose.  

According to the intestate succession rule, persons become beneficiaries in the following order.

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Doing business in a foreign country had many challenges. One of them is how to cope with the local laws and practices which foreign entrepreneurs are unfamiliar with. In response to these uncomfortable challenges, the entrepreneur may set a legal department within its business organization or hire an outside foreign legal counsel.

However, in this competitive business environment, having a different set up like outsourcing would be a better choice, because it will eventually save your money and help the smooth progression into a foreign market.

In this article, we explain the key concepts of legal outsourcing in Korea and what our office can provide.

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Like many other countries, South Korea has its own merger notification & competition review regimes.  This means if your M&A deal involving a Korean company or business meets the merger notification thresholds prescribed in the rules of the Korean competition authority, you need to make a merger filing. And your transaction becomes subject to the authority’s competition review.  Thus, it is imperative that the dealmakers should be fully advised on the Korean merger filing rules for the applicability and for any potential risks.

Korean M&A Regulatory Law and Agency

In Korea, the Monopoly Regulation and Fair Trade Act (MRFTA) regulates the M&A and other similar transactions.  The MRFTA appoints the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) as the regulatory agency that is in charge of receiving the pre-merger notification and carrying out the competition review.

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When you enter into an endorsement agreement with a celebrity in order to advertise your products and services, the overall behavior of that celebrity impacts the value and reputation of your business positively, and sometimes negatively. Therefore, most endorsement agreements with a celebrity or a sports star have a so-called Morals Clause.

What is a Morals Clause?

The morals clause imposes a contractual obligation for the models not to cause any harm to the public image of the sponsor or the brand owner.  It is the same in South Korea. 

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Living abroad is stressful. Suffering injury by accident in a foreign country would be one of the worst cases you don’t even want to imagine. Our office is providing legal advice and representation for foreign victims to seek damages in various types of accidents.

In this article, our personal injury lawyer in Seoul, Korea explains what you need to know about the personal injury lawyers in Korea and what you can expect from them.

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그림 2[Updated on March 20th, 2020] In South Korea, the immigration office may remove or deport from South Korea any person who violated the Immigration Control Act(“ICA”).  Any person who is released after receiving a sentence of fine, imprisonment or heavier punishment could be removed from Korea by an exit or a deportation order pursuant to ICA.  In this article, we will provide a general overview of an exit and deportation order under Korean immigration law. (more…)

Q) I would like to enquire about a situation of a director working at a Korean subsidiary (corporation) of U.S. company, who has secretly started a similar trade of business while still in employment with his current employer.  Having served in a managerial position, he has access to his employer’s full clientele’s information, trade secret and now he started the same business as his employer, directly causing many economic losses to his employer.  Is there any way legally to prevent the person from causing further damages?  

A) Under Korean law, a director of a corporation bears a fiduciary duty.  Thus the directors shall perform their duties in good faith for the interest of the company. Their activities shall not violate the statutes and the articles of incorporation of the company. (more…)

[Updated: May 6, 2020]

There was a news report that more than half of the foreign workers in South Korea are not aware of the fact that they can claim for the severance pay.   Yes, Korean labor law recognizes severance pay.  It is being regulated by the Guarantee of Workers’ Retirement Benefits Act(“GWRBA”).  In this article, we will provide you a guide to the general ideas of how severance pay works, who gets it, and how much in Korea.

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[Updated on February 10th, 2020]

We have been frequently asked about getting divorced in Korea as foreigners.  In this article, we provide you with the most essential information about divorcing in Korea.

Can Foreigners Get a Divorce Decree from the Korean Court?

Yes, Korean divorce law doesn’t treat foreigners differently.  Foreign spouses who married Korean citizens and even foreign spouses who married non-Korean citizens can divorce in Korea.

One thing to note is the Korean courts’ rule of jurisdiction which applies to international divorce.  Generally speaking, the Korean court will accept a divorce filing when the other spouse, i.e. the respondent, resides in Korea.

There is an exception to this.  In certain situations, the foreign spouse can get a divorce decree from the Korean court even when the other spouse does not reside in Korea.

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“I am an adoptee from South Korea to the U.S. Currently I live in the U.S.  Recently I found my biological parents died in South Korea.  He is survived by his wife and 2 sons.  He had businesses in Korea.  Can an adopted child inherit from biological parents in Korea?  I have never met or spoken to his wife and sons and so I don’t know if he had a will written.  What are my inheritance rights under Korean law?”

Everything Boils Down to Whether it is Full Adoption or Simple Adoption

A legal child is entitled to inheritance from his/her deceased parent. When the child is adopted, some jurisdictions treat the adoption as disconnecting the legal relationship with the biological parent, and some jurisdictions don’t. We call the former as a full adoption and the latter as a simple adoption.

As you can understand from the general idea of inheritance, an adopted child can inherit from biological parents in Korea only when the adoption is regarded as (more…)