All you need to know about property inheritance in Cambodia

The biggest truth about buying properties is that it’s a great investment to have in the long run. Since the value of a property appreciates over time, especially if the neighborhood where you bought it has been upscaled in value. It has a lot of benefits that will prove to help you and your family’s financial stability. As an investment, you can pass it off as inheritance, capitalising on its value and building a strong real estate portfolio first off for your family.

Property inheritance in Cambodia is not only possible but it is advised, especially since there are no taxes on inheritance in the country. Additionally, real estate taxes in the country only apply to Tax on Immovable Property (TOIP) at 0.1% only if property value is more than $25,000. This makes it easier and more profitable to give real estate as inheritance for your family.

But what exactly are the laws in Cambodia on property inheritance? Continue reading here in IPS Cambodia to know everything about inheriting properties!

1. Required age to own properties

There is no age restriction on who can own properties in Cambodia. According to the 2001 Land Law, you have to be a Cambodian citizen to own land within the country without any mention of age.

Managing the property/land is a different thing though since it’s still best for a guardian or parent to help in this regard. In cases where there are no parents to help, a guardian can take on the task. Guardians can volunteer, assigned by court, or indicated in the will to help manage the property until the inheritor is capable.

2. Will

Receiving properties, if a will has been written, makes it easier to inherit them. While there are laws and legal processes to address complications in property inheritance, it’s often not necessary to go through them if there’s a will. 

In case problems occur regarding inheritance, the provincial or municipal court will handle lawsuits of this nature. The specific court that will address this problem will be in the area where the property is located. All Cambodian laws apply in inheritance cases since it’s in the country, even if the inheritor is a foreigner.

Additionally, there is no specific length of time that inheritance cases are resolved since this fully depends on how complicated a case is. This means cases can span from a month to years so make sure to check yours—or to avoid the complication, write a will or suggest it to be written.

3. Inheriting land/property without a will

It is possible to inherit properties without a will but this is where complications can arise. Since no will has been written (intestacy), Cambodia’s Draft of Civil Code of 2006 applies where real estate properties will be inherited by the children, adopted or otherwise, of the deceased. If there are no children, it will be given to ancestors then to the deceased’s siblings if there are no ancestors to inherit it. On the other hand, if there are no siblings to receive the property/land, the deceased’s spouse can inherit it.

Here’s the succession order according to the Civil Code from priority to least:

  1. Children (Biological and adopted)
  2. Ancestors
  3. Sibling/s
  4. Spouse

In cases where there is no family to inherit, the property returns back to the State.

4. Reserved portion

In Cambodia, there is a reserved portion system wherein property owners can have other people, outside of descendants and family, inherit half of their properties or land. However, if the inheritors are ancestors or spouses, the reserve portion can be a third of the estate. This means a bigger portion of the property or land will be given to someone else, as dictated by the deceased in their will.

Furthermore, inheritors can file claims on any properties gifted before the deceased passed away, including the reserved portions of these estates.

5. Inheriting property as a foreigner

Foreigners, no matter the nationality or religious beliefs, can inherit properties in Cambodia. However, keeping the property under ownership would be difficult if they’re not a Cambodian citizen since it’s against Article 1155 of the Draft of Civil Code. 

If you’re not a citizen, the inherited property will become a legal entity. This has to be sold within three months and the money received from it has to be divided equally among all inheritors of the estate.

However, if the property cannot be sold within the time, property inheritance will be passed off to the next person who is a Cambodian citizen. If there are no citizens, then the inheritance as its own entity, would be dissolved.

6. Receiving inheritance prior to death

Unlike in other countries, you can receive inheritance in Cambodia even before someone passes away. This can be done through property transfer in which you can determine that you’ve inherited the property or land properly when you have the title deed.

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