CHRISTIAN INHERITANCE OR SUCCESSION LAW

 

Even though Christians form a significant world population, there are no specific Inheritance laws for Christians. There are four types of Inheritance laws practiced by Christians subject to circumstances. 

First - Heirs of the Promise

In the New Testament, Christian believers mention as "Heirs of the promise" because if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise". (Galatians 3:17–18). God promised Abraham that his faith would make him 'the father of all who believes (Romans 4:11; Galatians 3:29). The promise to Abraham of a descendant through whom 'all nations on earth will be blessed (Genesis 22:18) is seen as being fulfilled in Christ. Jesus (PBUH) says the meek will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5). It is such people, 'poor in the eyes of the world' but 'rich in faith', who James says will 'inherit the kingdom' promised to those who love God (James 2:5). Thus the benefits of this inheritance begin on earth but are seen as reaching fulfilment in heaven, which is an encouragement to those suffering persecution or hardship on earth. Peter describes it as 'an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade, kept in heaven for you' (1 Peter 1:4). Most christians believe this irrespective of whether they follow or not. 

Second - Customary Law of Torah

Since Christians do not have a practical solution to the first type, "Heirs of the Promise," the second option is to follow the "Customary Law of Torah". Some Christians form a tiny portion, follow the Jewish Inheritance Law if possible, and have no legal impediments. Christians do believe in the Torah, the Old Testament but the inheritance laws of the Torah are not being used in the real world. However, The Christians' obligation to uphold the law of the Torah can be found in Mathew 5:17 states, "Do no think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." That being said, there are a very small number of Christians follow the customary law of Torah. 

Third - Legal law of Land

Most christians rely on the legal instruments secular or non-secular available in the country or region. Those laws govenning christians' inheritance are not uniform and mixtures of customary, legal and secular laws. The Christians in the city Cochin (India) are governed by the Cochin Christian Succession Act 1921. The Christians in the State of Goa and the Union Territories of Daman and Diu (India) are governed by the Portugese Civil Court 1867, which is general succession legal law irrespective of faith. The Christians in Pondicherry (India) were governed by the French Civil Court 1804 or Customary Hindu Law or Indian Succession Act. Christians in Pakistan are governed by Succession Act 1925, Section 31 to 49, similar to Indian Christians. Christians in Ghana (Africa) generally observe the customary practices of inheritance as there is no binding Chrisitan directive to that effect. Christians prioritize a mix of the Intestate Succession Law and Customary Law. (REF- Plural Inheritance Laws, Practices and Emergent Types of Property - Implications for Updating the Land Register, Page 8 by Zaid Abubakari, Christine Richter and Jaap Zevengergen (Sustainability 2019, 11, 6087)). These are some examples, but there are not many references for Christians Inheritance law.

 

Fourth - Own Wills or Intestate

The majority of Christians create their inheritance law based on their preferences or just prefer to die Intestate so that their wealth gets distributed as per the Country legal laws. However, dying without Will is not recommended by most legal firms. It becomes expensive and may incur delay in assets distribution before it goes to the family members.

 

We encourage you to read our book, which includes exclusive details about Jewish, Christian, and Hindu Inheritance laws. Islamic inheritance law is compared one-to-one with other laws and includes an extensive summary based on research.

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christian inheritance