‘Deconstructing Foundational Principles of Trusts and Estates Law’

Naomi R Cahn, Dismantling the Trusts and Estates Canon, 2019 Wisconsin Law Review 165 (2019). All areas of the law have certain foundational principles or beliefs that are widely shared. These underlying assumptions often go unchallenged. In the trusts and estates field, these principles include: (1) giving a certain amount of ongoing control to the transferor, or in the case of a decedent, to the ‘dead hand’, (2) respect for formality, (3) the importance of the traditional, legally-recognized family, and (4) the ‘wealth’ narrative that focuses on the transmission of conventional forms of wealth. In her thought-provoking article, Professor Naomi Cahn challenges these underlying principles. She, correctly, I believe, identifies the wealth narrative as the ‘strand … that structures the rest of the field’ … (more)

[Sergio Pareja, JOTWELL, 28 February]

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