Will-Substitutes in England and Wales

A Braun and A Röthel (eds), Passing Wealth on Death. Will-Substitutes in Comparative Perspective (Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2016) 51-77

Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 39/2016

Posted: 4 Jun 2016

See all articles by Alexandra Braun

Alexandra Braun

School of Law, University of Edinburgh

Date Written: May 30, 2016

Abstract

Will-substitutes, that is to say mechanisms that are functionally equivalent to wills, are very common in the US, where much of the wealth is transferred on death by means other than wills, and thus outside traditional probate procedures. The purpose of this chapter is to investigate whether this is the case also in England and Wales.

This chapter explores some of the most common mechanisms used, the rationale behind their use, as well as the consequences that arise from their proliferation. In doing so, it considers will-substitutes from different perspectives, including those of creditors and family members and dependants. It argues that the current state of the law in England and Wales is unsatisfactory and that it is time for a debate involving non-probate transfers and their relationship with current succession laws.

Keywords: wills, will-substitutes, estate planning, pension schemes, life insurance, joint tenancy, donatio mortis causa, revocable trusts, probate, creditors, dependants

JEL Classification: K00, K11, K30, K40

Suggested Citation

Braun, Alexandra, Will-Substitutes in England and Wales (May 30, 2016). A Braun and A Röthel (eds), Passing Wealth on Death. Will-Substitutes in Comparative Perspective (Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2016) 51-77, Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 39/2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2788469

Alexandra Braun (Contact Author)

School of Law, University of Edinburgh ( email )

Old College
South Bridge
Edinburgh, EH8 9YL
United Kingdom

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