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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Postgraduate Course: Intergenerational Transfer of Wealth (LAWS11404)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe title for the course is ¿Intergenerational transfer of wealth¿, because the course will not merely focus on what legal systems understand to be formally part of their respective succession laws, but will extend, for instance, to instruments that lie outside its domain but that obtain succession objectives. Also, the course will look at lifetime transfers that are informed by succession objectives. In other words, students are invited to take a functional perspective.

The approach taken will be historical, comparative and, to some extent, also inter-disciplinary. Students would gain an understanding of the principles and policies underlying the transfer of wealth on death. They will study how wealth is distributed on death, to whom, why, and by what means, but also how socio-economic factors have influenced the development of the law in this area and what challenges succession law is facing in light of developments in other areas of the law (eg property law, family law, insolvency law, tax law), as well as demographic changes.

This course will be divided into two parts. The first part of the course will focus on the basic principles and foundations of succession law, dealing with topics such as the scope and boundaries of succession law, its functions and place on the map of private law, the philosophical foundations underpinning private succession as well as the scope of private autonomy in this context, and thus testamentary freedom and its restrictions.

By contrast, the second part will deal with key challenges and debates in succession law that are caused, for instance, by the rise of will-substitutes, digital assets, an ageing society (the vulnerable testator) as well as an increase in cross-border succession cases.
Course description
This course will be taught in 10 seminars. Below is an outline of the provisional teaching programme.

Part I ¿ Basic principles and foundations

Seminar 1: Introduction
Seminar 2: Scope/boundaries of succession law and its function
Seminar 3: Cultures and histories of inheritance
Seminar 4: Rationales of private succession
Seminar 5: The scope of private autonomy and its restrictions (family succession v freedom of disposition)

Part II ¿ Key challenges and debates

Seminar 6: The law of intestacy ¿ issues of distribution of wealth
Seminar 7: Intentional transfer of wealth ¿ wills v other instruments
Seminar 8: Power structures in inheritance (vulnerable testator v vulnerable heir/beneficiary)
Seminar 9: Digital assets
Seminar 10: Conflict of laws/cross-border succession
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
Students will obtain a critical understanding of the core principles and debates in succession law and the rationale underpinning current laws. They will further develop experience in applying comparative methodologies to an area of private law that is traditionally said to defy comparison.
Reading List
* M Anderson and E Arroyo i Amayuelas (eds), The law of succession: testamentary freedom: European perspectives (Europa Law Publishing, 2011)
* J Beckert, Inherited Wealth (2008)
* Alexandra Braun and Anne Röthel (eds), Passing Wealth on Death. Will-Substitutes in Comparative Perspective (Hart Publishing 2016)
* J Cunliffe and G Erreygers (eds), Inherited wealth, justice and equality (Routledge 2013)
* LM Friedman, Dead Hands: A Social History of Wills, Trusts, and Inheritance Law (2009)
* GL Gretton and AJM Steven, Property, Trusts & Succession (3rd edition, 2017)
* B Häcker and C Mitchell (eds), Current Issues in Succession Law (Hart Publishing 2016)
* David Hayton (eds), European Succession Laws (Jordans 2002)
* KGC Reid, MJ de Waal and R Zimmermann (eds), Exploring Succession Law: studies national, historical and comparative (Edinburgh University Press 2007)
* KGC Reid, MJ de Waal and R Zimmermann (eds), Comparative Succession Law Series (OUP) volume I on Testamentary Formalities (2011) and volume II on Intestate succession (2015).
* R Kerridge, Parry and Kerridge: The Law of Succession (12th edition, 2016)
* B Sloan, Borkowski's law of succession (3rd edition, 2017)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills * Students will develop the skills of working independently in the critical analysis of legal materials across different jurisdictions. They will become familiar with reading primary case law and statutory sources but also secondary literature across the common and civil law traditions. They will further become familiar with readings drawn from economics, sociology and anthropology.
* Students will develop an autonomous engagement with primary common and civil law sources and the ability to think creatively about their application to concrete situations. They will further develop an ability to engage with theoretical and practical questions, as well as with policy debates.
* By interactive discussion, students will learn the value of shared dialogue to the formation and refinement of their thinking. The will also develop an ability to formulate considered questions, to articulate connected explanations, and a sensitivity to terminological issues in the field.
* Confidence in handling and discussing complex legal materials across civil and common law jurisdictions.
* Sophisticated use of primary and secondary materials written, and the ability to articulate their meaning both orally and in writing.
KeywordsSuccession Laws,Law of Intestacy,Wills,Inheritance,Digital Assets,Cross-border succession
Course organiserProf Alexandra Braun
Tel: (0131 6)51 5560
Course secretaryMrs Maree Hardie
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