Category Archives: Succession

Felix Chang, ‘How Should Inheritance Law Remediate Inequality?’

ABSTRACT This Essay argues that trusts and estates (‘T&E’) should prioritize intergenerational economic mobility – the ability of children to move beyond the economic station of their parents – above all other goals. The field’s traditional emphasis on testamentary freedom fosters the stickiness of inequality. For wealthy settlors, dynasty trusts sequester assets from the nation’s […]

Benjamin Means, ‘Solving the “King Lear Problem”’

ABSTRACT In Shakespeare’s play, King Lear, an aging ruler relinquished control to two of his three daughters. The succession failed miserably, destroying his family and destabilizing his kingdom. King Lear shows why few family businesses survive beyond three generations. Understanding Lear’s failure is crucial to avoiding Lear’s fate, whether the family business in question is […]

‘Felix Chang on Trusts and Estates Policy’

“In this episode, Felix B Chang, Associate Dean of Faculty and Research, Professor of Law, and Co-Director of the Corporate Law Center, at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, discusses his article ‘How Should Inheritance Law Remediate Inequality?’ Chang begins by explaining why trusts and estates law is relevant to inequality. He argues that […]

Horton and Weisbord, ‘Probate Litigation’

ABSTRACT The field of wills is obsessed with deterring litigation. Supposedly, will contests – challenges to the validity of a testamentary instrument – are time-consuming, expensive, expose the testator’s eccentricities, and tear families apart. In turn, these factors give contestants the leverage to file ‘strike suits’: baseless allegations that are designed to obtain a shakedown […]

David Horton, ‘Revoking Wills’

ABSTRACT No issue in inheritance law has sparked as much debate as the requirements for making a valid will. For centuries, Anglo-American courts have insisted that decedents obey rigid formalities, such as signing or acknowledging their wills before two witnesses. These rituals preserve proof of the testator’s wishes, reinforce the gravity of estate planning, prevent […]

‘A Proposal to Protect Transgender Beneficiaries’

Carla Spivack, ‘The Dilemma of the Transgender Heir’, 33 Quinnipiac Probate Law Journal 147 (2020), available at HeinOnline. A goal of professors is, or should be, to think about legal issues that have not yet arisen but that are likely to arise in the future. By thinking of the issues before they arise, we can […]

Lusina Ho, ‘An Asian Approach to Mental Capacity for Wills and Lasting Powers’

ABSTRACT This chapter addresses the tension associated with applying English capacity law in the predominantly Chinese cultural contexts of Hong Kong and Singapore. Some judges in these Asian jurisdictions interpret even the most basic elements of the law to take into account the value of family protection. Some judges are committed to respecting the autonomous […]

‘Performers and Portrayers’

Shelly Kreiczer-Levy and Ronit Donyets-Kedar, ‘Better Left Forgotten: An Argument Against Treating Some Social Media and Digital Assets as Inheritance in an Era of Platform Power’, 84 Brooklyn Law Review 703 (2019). In 1956, sociologist Erving Goffman wrote his now-classic text, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Consciously or not, Goffman posited, people are […]

Alyssa DiRusso, ‘Micro-Lawyering and Simulations in Trusts and Estates Courses’

ABSTRACT This article provides a description of the microlawyering and simulation exercises I use in my three trusts and estates courses. An ideal exposure to trusts and estates practice is gained through microlawyering – a term I use to mean small-scale, real legal experiences. In addition to microlawyering, simulations offer students the opportunity to develop […]

‘Remote Witnessing of Wills: A Step in the Right Direction’

“The COVID-19 pandemic has incited some changes in the realms of estate and post-death planning. With the pandemic taking so many lives, many were forced to thinking about planning for their death, and they had nothing but time to do it. Many are required to self-isolate as to not risk their health or the health […]