More than 70 percent of people would still be living with inherited debt even if a proposed amendment to the Civil Code is passed, members of Taiwan Fund for Children and Families (TFCF) said during a press conference in Taipei yesterday.
According to an amendment to the Civil Code that passed its first reading at the legislature last week, people under the age of 20 will be automatically entitled to "limited debt inheritance" -- meaning that they would only have to repay any debts they have inherited by using the assets they have inherited, not from their own pocket.
The proposed amendment to the code also applies for three years retroactively.
The Civil Code allows "limited debt inheritance," but only if the person inheriting the debt makes a request within three months of the benefactor's death.
"However, most people are ignorant of the law and they only find out they are in debt when they are pursued by creditors," TFCF social works division director Chou Hui-hsiang (周慧香) told the news conference.
A survey of more than 1,700 households by the organization showed that 24.6 percent of children under 18 are more than NT$500,000 in debt and almost 80 percent of those indebted children are currently attending junior high school or younger.
Although the proposed amendment may help, Chou said it is not enough.
"The retroactive period of the proposed amendment is only three years -- but our survey found that more than 70 percent of debt inheritance occurred more than three years ago," Chou said.
A Tsinghua University student surnamed Tsai (蔡) is a victim of inherited debt.
He said he only learned four years ago when his sister applied for a mortgage that he, his brother and sister had inherited a NT$2.6 million (US$80,400) debt left by their father who died in 1976.
"My father was a guarantor to a NT$5.6 million loan taken out by an uncle," Tsai said. "Although part of the loan had been repaid, there was still NT$2.6 million left."
Knowing the law, the uncle's family quickly applied for limited debt inheritance after the uncle's death, leaving Tsai's family to shoulder responsibility for the debt, he said.
"NT$2.6 million was the amount 21 years ago, with a 15 percent annual interest rate the total amount is now NT$50 million," Tsai said. "I know I will never be able to pay off the debt that has nothing to do with me -- and I don't know what the point of life is for me now."
Kaohsiung District Court Judge Chen Ye-hsin (陳業鑫) said unlimited debt inheritance was "unconstitutional."
"Banks loaned out the money based on an assessment of the borrower's financial condition, so how can the borrower's children be expected to pay off the debt with their future income just because they don't know how to make a limited inheritance declaration?" Chen said.
Chen said adult family members should also be entitled to automatic limited debt inheritance.
The head of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tien Chiu-chin's (田秋堇) office, Cheng Chih-chieh (張智傑), who was among the audience, said he would seek to renegotiate the amendment next week.
It took director Chong Keat Aun (張吉安) nearly a decade to complete Snow in Midsummer (五月雪), a deft chronicle of Malaysia’s May 13 incident told through one woman’s search for her brother and father. Although only his second feature, it led the field at yesterday’s Golden Horse Awards with nine nominations. Chong said it had been a struggle to get people to share their memories of the intercommunal violence following the 1969 national election, known among the country’s ethnic Chinese community as “513.” “My father, for example, would shut the conversation down if my mother or grandma even mentioned the topic,” Chong said
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday said that a surge in respiratory illnesses in China has been caused by at least seven types of pathogens, and small children, elderly people and immunocompromised people should temporarily avoid unnecessary visits to China. The recent outbreak of respiratory illnesses in China is mainly in the north and among children, CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said on Monday. Data released by the Chinese National Health Commission on Sunday showed that among children aged one to four, the main pathogens were influenza viruses and rhinoviruses, while among children aged five to 14, the main pathogens
A new poll of Taiwanese voters found the top opposition candidate for president jumping past the ruling party’s hopeful into the lead position ahead of January’s election — the latest twist in a drama-filled race. Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) had an approval rating of 31.9 percent versus 29.2 percent for the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) presidential candidate Vice President William Lai (賴清德), the poll released yesterday by the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation showed. The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), ranked third with 23.6 percent, according to the survey conducted
A New Taipei City hotpot restaurant could be fined after a rat dropped from the ceiling and landed on a customer’s plate last week, the New Taipei City Department of Health said yesterday after conducting an inspection. A woman recently posted on the “I am a Banciao resident” (我是板橋人) social media group saying that she had been eating with a friend at Chien Tu Shabu Shabu Hotpot Restaurant’s Shuangshi B branch in Banciao District (板橋). “While still eating, a big rat suddenly dropped down from the ceiling, landing on a plate next to a hotpot,” she said. “Later on, a member of