This course is taught by Professor Alexandra Braun.
Succession law has undergone interesting and significant modifications as the result of socio-economic and cultural changes in our society, such as: increased life expectancy, changes in family structures and relations, higher divorce rates, as well as changes in the nature of family wealth. One of the trends that strongly emerge is that “estate planning” has acquired an increasing relevance for families and this has carried with it the importance of structuring the passage of property from one generation to the other.
The aim of this lecture and seminar based course is
- to analyse these socio-economic changes and the way legal systems respond to them
- to examine the different legal devices used to regulate the transfer of wealth from one generation to another.
The course explores a variety of legal instruments from a comparative point of view,such as wills (single wills, mutual wills, gemeinschaftliche Testamente), trusts (inter vivos trusts, testamentary trusts, secret trusts), contracts (Erbverträge, patti di famiglia, ante-nuptial contracts), gifts (donations mortis causa and inter vivos gifts) and other legal devices such as life insurances, pension funds and foundations (Privatstiftungen). Attention will thus be paid to the legal tools that allow ‘lifetime transfers’as well as to the instruments through which wealth is transferred upon death. Issues such as the tension between forced heirship and freedom of devolution, as well as the tension between freedom of testation and freedom of contract will be considered.
Students will gain:
- an understanding of the historical developments and modern trends of succession law within the major common and civil law jurisdictions.
- an appreciation of the points of contact between these legal jurisdictions.
- a recognition of the changing role of inheritance law and its importance.