Harmonization of the Law of Succession in Europe
Alain Laurent P. G. Verbeke
University of Leuven, Faculty of Law, Department of Private Law; Harvard Law School; University of Leuven, Faculty of Psychology; Tilburg Law School Department of Private Law and TISCO; Catholic University of Portugal (UCP) - Católica Global School of Law; Greenille (Attorneys, Notaries and Tax Advisors; Brussels, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Rotterdam)
June 17, 2010
TOWARDS A EUROPEAN CIVIL CODE, FOURTH REVISED AND EXPANDED EDITION, pp. 459-479, A.S. Hartkamp, Martijn W. Hesselink, E.H. Hondius, Chantal Mak & C. Edgar du Perron, eds., Kluwer Law International, 2011
In this contribution we explore the feasibility of harmonizing the law of succession in Europe. This is an area that is traditionally considered to be too much culture impacted to be harmonized. We first explore the concepts of comparative law, ius commune and harmonization. Then some typical solutions for problems of succession law are analyzed: transfer of the estate, intestate rights, position of surviving spouse, wills, forced heirship. We then explore the different approaches such as convergence of laws or unification. It is clear that in recent years the EU has become interested also in succession law (eg proposal for regulation October 2009). The feasibility therefore seems more and more possible. We question however the desirability of such evolution. Diversity in Europe should be cherished as a virtue and quality in itself. At least an open and transparent process of decision making is needed if one considers unification in private law in general, and in this field in particular.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 21
Keywords: Succession Law, Europe, Unification, Harmonization, Ius Commune, Conflict of Laws
JEL Classification: K12Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: February 19, 2011
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