The money at stake adds up to US$28 million.
In a thrilling legal battle that has captured the attention of millions on Chinese social media, a husband, surnamed Wang, has launched a lawsuit seeking half of his wife’s inherited fortune, estimated at 200 million yuan (approximately US$28 million). The case, unfolding against the backdrop of a tragic family loss and marital discord, highlights the complexities of inheritance laws and marital assets in China.
Wang’s wife, Kang, is at the center of this high-stakes drama, having recently become the sole beneficiary of her parents’ considerable wealth following their untimely demise in a road accident earlier this year. As reported by the Shanghai Legal Daily, her inheritance includes nine pieces of prime real estate in Shanghai, bank deposits exceeding 10 million yuan (about US$1.4 million), and various financial assets cumulatively valued at 200 million yuan.
However, the narrative took an unexpected turn six months after her parents’ death when Kang was blindsided by a divorce petition from Wang, citing irreconcilable differences. Attempts to reach her husband were futile as she discovered that he had already vacated their shared home and disconnected his phone.
Adding to her shock, Kang received a subsequent legal notice indicating Wang’s intention to claim a share of her inherited wealth. This development came as a surprise to many, given that Kang’s parents had not left a will, a detail that significantly influenced the legal proceedings.
Tan Fang, director of the Shanghai Family and Family Law Firm, weighed in on the case, explaining that under China’s Civil Code, inheritances obtained during a marriage are considered joint property. Tan’s perspective sheds light on Wang’s legal standing in claiming a share of Kang’s inheritance.
Confronted with this revelation, Kang recalled Wang’s background in law and his habit of regularly reading legal texts, leading her to question the true motives behind their divorce. She poignantly asked Wang whether the divorce would have still been pursued if her parents were alive and without the substantial inheritance.
If my parents had not died, or if they hadn’t left me so much inheritance, would you still divorce me?
— Kang to her estranged husband Wang
Wang maintained his stance, insisting that the divorce was not influenced by the inheritance but rather stemmed from a lack of love in their marriage.
There is no love between us. This is not related to the death of your parents.
The lawsuit’s emergence online triggered widespread discussion, amassing over 400 million views on Weibo. Online commentators emphasized the importance of wills in preventing such disputes. Tan echoed this sentiment, advising on the critical need for parents to clearly outline their wishes for their assets.
Making a plan in advance could prevent this kind of tragedy from happening
— Tan Fang
Intriguingly, the case has also sparked speculation among netizens, with some suggesting a police investigation into the parents’ car accident, suspecting Wang might have played a role in it.
As this legal battle unfolds, it serves as a cautionary tale about the unexpected consequences of inheritance and the complexities of marital asset division, resonating with a vast audience and igniting discussions on personal, legal, and ethical grounds.
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