Setting up a will in Taiwan

How does one set up a legally valid will in Taiwan?

My wife and I just finished setting up our insurance for our trip to Canada, and if an accident were to befall us, leaving our daughter unscathed, she would be a wealthy little girl.

How can we determine that, if necessary, custody of our daughter to my brother and his wife (in Seattle) could be speedily implemented? I’m sure that my inlaws wouldn’t attempt any funny business, but not sure enough that I’d want to leave my millionaire daughter’s fate in their hands. Also, I just wouldn’t want her growing up in Sanchong, you know? :wink:

Sorry I don’t have an answer for you, MM - just some questions - your daughter’s Canadian - would there be any citizenship issues involved with her being moved from Taiwan to live in the US with your Canadian brother? How would your brother take her out of Taiwan?

I am asking because I have my own versions of that scenario I have been wondering about. Feel free to move this post elsewhere if needed.

My daughter has dual citizenship - Canada and ROC. My brother and his wife (Canadians) are in the States on green cards.

I have no idea of the process.

Taiwan’s Civil Code, Book V Succession, Chpt III, Wills stipulates that five different types of wills are acceptable in Taiwan. These include the holographic (self-written) will, notarial will, secret will, dictated will and the oral will. The basic requirements for each (except the oral will) of these are as follows:

Holographic Will:

The testator must himself write the entire text of the will, indicating the complete date and sign the same. If any amendment or deletion is subsequently made by the testator, he must sign an additional note at the place of the amendment or deletion and indicate the number of words in the amendment/deletion. A handwriting expert will need to verify the signature of the testator on the will.

Notarial Will:

Testator must designate at least two (2) witnesses and make an oral statement of his testamentary wishes before a notary public. The statement must be written down, read over and explained by the notary public, and after the testator has given approval, the will must be signed by the testator and the witnesses, with the complete date indicated. If the testator for any reason cannot sign his name, the notary must record the reason for this inability and make an imprint of the testator’s finger print where his signature would otherwise be made.

Secret Will:

Testator must, after signing the will, have the same securely sealed within an envelope and then sign his name again across the seam of the envelope seal, designate at least two (2) witnesses and declare before a notary public that the document inside the envelope is his will, and if not written by himself, also declare the name and address of the third party who drafted the will. The notary public must indicate on the envelope the date on which the will was brought to her and the declaration of the testator and sign the envelope together with the testator and the witnesses.

Dictated Will:

The testator must designate at least three (3) witnesses, make an oral statement of his testamentary wishes, have the same written down, and have the statement read over and explained by one of the witnesses. After the testator approves the will, the complete date is indicated on the will and the name of the witness who wrote the will is indicated as well. The will must then be signed by the testator and all three witnesses.

The oral will is used when the testataor is in imminent danger of dying and unable to make any of the other above-types of wills. If the testator, within three (3) months of the date of an oral will regains the ability to make another will, the oral will becomes null and void.

You should confirm with a licensed Taiwan attorney the above information, and also inquire as to whether there are any other issues that should be considered.

Pop down to the Canadian Trade Office. I’m sure they’d be able to answer all this esp. if your daughter would have to go to the states with two Canadians on greencards.

I have no reason to not believe you Tigerman, well maybe one, and that’s the extraordinary inability anyone in Taiwan seems to have with sticking to a contract.


The Canadian Trade Office will most likely tell you to have your brother consult a US immigration attorney. This situation is almost certainly out of their jurisdiction. Either way, please keep us posted on how this goes for you.

Complicated choice of law implications here… I wouldn’t trust the Taiwanese courts if they’d had to choose awarding the child to Taiwanese family over Canadian/US family for custody.

As HGC said…

I wonder if establishing strong/continuous ties with Canadian/US family would strengthen the case that the child would be better off in the US than staying in Taiwan. Because I can easily see the argument from the Taiwanese side if there’d be a suit over it. It’d be hard to overcome the logic of “Why should we give up a Taiwanese national to a family living in America?”

Anyways, good luck.

I assume a piece of paper stating something signed by you in the presence of two witnesses, notary public etc should suffice
For assets and all that it should be easy. “This I leave to XXX… this I leave to YYYY”

with no will it falls to your spouse. If you have no spouse then the lawyers get involved to carve it up, put it in a trust for your kids.

I do not know if a will giving stuff to other people can override spouse and kids inheritance/entitlements

But for kids, well I assume that both you and the ms. would need to state clearly in the event of both of your deaths that your brother/sister etc should take care of the baby… Otherwise it might be possible to argue that the other spouses view or desire was not taken into consideration

Which ever it is you should get it checked out by a professional. Paying money for some solid advice is always best

Maoman - Good topic

TMan - Must the wills be made in Chinese, english or both?

Either will do.

However, you will most likely need to translate an English language will for the Court.


Now that we seem to have two practicing lawyers modding this section of the forum ( :bravo: :bravo: :bravo: ), I thought I’d dig up this chestnut and ask for corroboration.

My question is twofold: Does all of the following still apply and what is the status of a registered legal will written in English from a first world country in TW? Recognized or not?