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Colombia: New Law Mandates Loss of Right to Inherit in Cases of Abuse or Neglect of Relatives

(June 13, 2018) On May 30, 2018, President Juan Manuel Santos promulgated Law 1893 to punish children who abuse, abandon, or engage in questionable practices toward their parents by nullifying the children’s right to their parents’ inheritance. (Hijos maltratadores no podrán heredar: nueva ley de la República, EL ESPECTADOR (May 30, 2018).)

Senator Roy Barreras, who sponsored the bill, explained that the measure aims to encourage respect and care for parents, the elderly, and disabled people by punishing children who abuse their parents. (Id.)

Grounds for disinheritance of blood relatives up to the sixth degree include homicide, whether intentional or unintentional. (Ley 1893 por el que se Reforma el Articulo 1025 del Código Civil, May 24, 2018, art. 1(1)–(3), Presidency of the Republic website.) Additional grounds for disinheritance include the case of children who failed to take action to save their parent’s life if they could have done something to prevent the parent’s death and heirs forcing the decedent to include in his or her will clauses that would benefit the heirs. (Id. art. 1(4), (6), (8).)

Other grounds include making a serious attempt against the life, honor, or patrimony of the person whose assets were to be inherited, including failing to seek help to save the person’s life or assets. (Id. art. 1(7) & (8).)

Law 1893 adds new grounds of disinheritance in addition to the three already effective under the Civil Code, such as the heir hiding the will left by the parent. (Id. art. 1(5).)

The new law is a response to official statistics for 2017 that show 70,000 cases of interfamily violence and 20,000 cases of people in a neglected situation abandoned by their relatives. (Hijos maltratadores no podrán heredar: nueva ley de la República, supra.)