December 22, 2020 13:14
The estate of K-pop star Gu Ha-ra, who killed herself in November last year, has divided her surviving family and led to an unusual settlement.
The Gwangju Family Court on Dec. 17 decided that the estate will be split 6:4 in favor of her father and brother Gu Ho-in and against her estranged mother.
The original split was going to be 50:50, but Gu Ho-in filed a lawsuit against the mother, who abandoned the family decades ago, asking the court to take into account his and his father's contribution and support for the late star in dividing her wealth.
Under Korean law, if an unmarried person without children dies intestate, their estate is divided 50:50 between the mother and father if both survive.
But the brother filed the lawsuit against his mother in March, saying she left home when Ha-ra was nine and had been out of contact since. Their father had already ceded his share to his son.
The brother argued that it was unfair for the mother, who had made no contribution to her daughter's wellbeing, to get the full legal share.
The court agreed, saying the father raised his daughter for 12 years alone without help and there was a need to correct the legal share of the inheritance.
"Parents' obligation to their underage children is not only to bear the cost of raising them but to protect and educate them for the sake of their physical and mental development," the presiding judge said.
"It is likely that the father provided special care for his daughter so that it was necessary to adjust the inheritance share in order to promote fairness among the heirs."
Also in March, Gu Ho-in petitioned the government for a law that bans parents who have failed to fulfill their child-rearing obligations from inheriting their children's estate. But the draft bill has been stuck in the legislature since then.
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