Tue, Sep 11, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Civil Code proposal stands to `benefit' indebted infants

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Justice said yesterday it plans to amend the Civil Code to give infants a better chance of avoiding debts inherited from parents or grandparents.

Director of the Ministry's Department of Legal Affairs, Chang Ching-yun (張清雲), yesterday told a press conference that the Chiayi District Court last week saddled a three-month-old infant with debts from his dead grandfather.

In order to prevent these kind of incidents from occurring again, the ministry had decided to amend the Civil Code, he said.

Chang said that the current Civil Code stipulates that an heir must plead for an abandonment of debts from his or her dead parents or grandparents within two months of their death if the heir is aware of the debts.

He said the proposed amendment would extend the two month period to three months, giving people more time to decide whether to abandon inherited debt.

Chang added the proposed amendment stipulates that infants or secondary inheritors would be allowed to define their inheritance, which means that if infants or secondary inheritors inherit more debt than property, they can plead to define their inheritance and not have to use property to pay off the debt.

Chang said that the amendment stipulates that infants or secondary inheritors could do so within four months of their parents' or grandparents' death.

It was unclear how the ministry expected infants to plead on their own behalf.

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