My journey to inherit my late wife's properties in downtown Ho Chi Minh City

June 28, 2024 | 04:32 pm PT
My journey to inherit my late wife's properties in downtown Ho Chi Minh City
Properties in HCMC's District 1 in October 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
My in-laws tried everything, from persuading my wife to exclude me from our will to refusing to give me her parents' death certificate, to prevent me from inheriting her assets.

My wife and I got married 46 years ago. We have two sons who are over 40 years old. About 20 years into our marriage, thanks to our efforts, we became relatively successful without any help from either side of our families. Around 80% of our assets were earned by my hard work.

Since then, my wife and I have financially supported both sides of our family. I helped my in-laws start their businesses, and even bought them houses and cars.

While my wife was alive, we wrote a will stating that if one of us passed away, the surviving spouse would inherit all of our assets.

Seven years ago, my wife fell seriously ill, and doctors informed us that she had at most one year to live. Conflicts between us and my in-laws emerged during this time.

My sisters-in-law frequently visited my wife and, in my absence, attempted to convince her to draft a new will that would exclude me from the inheritance and transfer her assets to them. They went as far as suggesting that I would remarry and the outsider would get everything. My wife adamantly refused, yet her family continued to trouble her even on her deathbed.

After my wife passed away, I went to a notary office in HCMC’s District 1 to initiate the inheritance process, which would transfer all our shared assets to me. I thought having a certified will with two witnesses would make the process simple.

However, I was surprised that an amendment to inheritance law stipulates that certain individuals, including the deceased's parents, children under 18, and children who are adults but unable to work, are still entitled to inheritance even if they are not named in the will.

Therefore, I had to ask my wife's family for a copy of her parents' death certificates to prove that I was the sole beneficiary. Unsurprisingly, they refused. Luckily, the law allows using the deceased's tombstone instead of death certificates.

So, I had to return to my wife’s hometown to take photos of her parents' tombstones and cross-referenced them with my wife's death certificate, which was notarized. Thankfully, every detail matched without inconsistencies. I hope no one else has to go through my journey as inheriting properties in District 1 and District 3 is the most challenging.

When I shared my story, some people told me I was partly to blame because I was using money to gain favors from my wife's family by buying them houses and cars. Nonetheless, I did so thinking her family was still struggling and that I could help them out.

My own parents and siblings had all passed away before that, so my wife's family and I were very close. Seeing my in-laws selling noodle soup under a roadside tree, facing constant risk of homelessness, broke my heart, so I bought them a place to live. I also assisted other in-laws because I thought they needed help.

My friends advise me to sever ties with my wife's family. However, my son is very attached to his maternal family because it reminds him of his mother. What should I do?

Reader Duy Phan

*This opinion was translated into English by AI. Readers’ views are personal and do not necessarily match VnExpress’ viewpoints.

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