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Offspring of a designated heir are not automatically entitled to inherit the assets of the heir’s parent in cases where the heir dies before the parent, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday, setting a fresh precedent.

The top court’s five-justice Third Petty Bench upheld a 2-year-old high court ruling over a suit filed by the sister of a man whose mother designated him as the heir of her assets.

In 1993, the mother, who inherited half of the father’s assets, drew up a will that designated her son as heir to all of her assets. But the son died in June 2006, three months before she did.

The sister sued in 2008 against three children of her deceased brother, seeking a court ruling that she has the right to inherit half the assets.

In November that year, the Tokyo District Court turned down her demand, saying the next of kin of the son should inherit the assets to meet the mother’s will.

But the Tokyo High Court repealed the district court decision in April 2009, noting the mother’s will made no mention of the inheritance passing to the offspring of the designated heir in the case of his death.

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