Exploring the Boundaries of Succession Law
AJM Steven, RG Anderson and J MacLeod (eds), Nothing so Practical as a Good Theory. Festschrift for George L Gretton (Avizandum Publishing 2017) 294-307
15 Pages Posted: 8 May 2018
Date Written: April 23, 2018
It is generally assumed that succession law is a distinct area of private law with its own rationale, and that it is possible to define with certainty what falls within its domain. This chapter seeks to question the latter of these assumptions and argues that the scope of this province of the law is not self-evident, especially in light of the proliferation of mechanisms that produce effects both during lifetime and on death, such as, for instance, life insurance, pension and retirement schemes, various forms of bank accounts or joint tenancies, trusts, foundations, clauses in partnership agreements etc.
The aim of this contribution is to explore arrangements that are neither wholly inter vivos nor wholly testamentary, and to consider some of the problems that arise when grappling with the question of whether conventional succession laws should apply. It will argue that difficulties of classification date back to Roman times, and that the question as to the scope of succession law continues to be an important one that warrants a systematic debate not only for reasons of doctrinal coherence, but also because of the practical implications.
Keywords: law, succession law, will substitutes, donatio mortis causa, wills, probate, testamentary dispositions, life insurance, pension schemes, trusts, creditors, dependants
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