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  •  The law goes to Continental law through France (3+ / 0-)
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    Oh Mary Oh, madhaus, LilithGardener

    predating the United States. It common in countries following Continental law. For example see Nicolas Malumian's Forced Heirship in Latin America where you will find this:

    In essence, forced heirship can be described as a restriction to the freedom to write a will. It provides that a certain percentage of a person’s assets (and in some countries the gratuitous transfers done during his life) must be transferred in equal parts and without delay to his forced heir at the time of death of that person.

    As forced heirship is a part of the public policy of the countries, any will against it is null and void. As mentioned, the sole way to avoid it is to have assets located abroad and to create a structure in a country in which this restriction is not recognised.

    Note in the table that all major South American countries have forced heirship. Many of the Central American ones do not. Note in particular that gifts given during life are essentially revoked in favor of forced heirs. Thus, even if a spouse is given the bulk of the property in life it reverts to forced heirs on a death. The system originated at a time when women were essentially property and had almost no property rights themselves.

    One of the miserable outcomes of Louisiana law was that adult children of a former wife could force the sale of an elderly second wife's home on the death of her husband unless he had carefully arranged her usufruct (use in life). The change in the state's constitution "abolished" forced heirship except as implemented by the legislature which put much of it back in effect. It has its strong defenders, including Bible quotes.

    At the Global Wills site's discussion you will find it is our legal heritage from English law that makes Louisiana the oddball exception in the United States:

    In England, Wales and Northern Ireland clients can leave assets to whomever they choose. However in most European countries, including Scotland, this is not the case. The laws of succession define specific rights for certain persons (the protected heirs).
    So, if you move into Louisiana you actually are moving out of the United States as far as wills are concerned. I knew people that quickly moved out of the New Orleans area to Mississippi on discovery of this oddity because they were divorced with adult children of a previous marriage and wanted their will to cover their present wife and younger children.

    The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

    by pelagicray on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 06:42:44 AM PST

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