Jeffrey Evans Stake
Indiana University Maurer School of Law
This essay discusses common law, equity and statutory rules governing gratuitous transfers of assets in the United States and Great Britain. One of the recurring questions of inheritance law is how to increase the chances of reaching the result the transferor wanted. Sometimes in tension with the goal of following the decedent's intent are the objectives of reducing the individual costs of transfer and maintaining the dispute resolution system. Another issue is how far to allow the transferor's intent to control future ownership of property, i.e., to what extent to allow property to be governed by the "dead hand of the past". In its discussion of intestate succession, wills, and trusts, this essay highlights those interwoven policy threads in the fabric of inheritance law.
Date posted: September 2, 1998
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