Inheritance Legal Systems and the Intergenerational Bond
29 Pages Posted: 16 May 2012
Date Written: May 15, 2012
This article offers an analysis of three legal systems of inheritance: American law, common law family provision, and civil law. It offers a unique reading of these systems by focusing on the role of continuity in inheritance and by stressing the position of potential recipients. It uses the concept of the intergenerational bond to capture the intersection of continuity, property, and the giver–receiver interrelation. It then highlights the role of continuity in each system and explores their different constructions of continuity. Two main conclusions arise. First, each of these systems has a bifocal dimension. Second, these legal systems can be defined along two axes. One axis is the balance between the giver and the receiver. The other is the content of the bond. The balance between testamentary freedom and familial continuity varies among legal systems, but provides a general model for understanding these systems.
Keywords: Inheritance, legal systems, comparative, continuity, property, trusts and estates
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