Friday, September 8, 2017
Greetings from the “Wealth Transfer Law in Comparative and International Perspective” symposium, hosted by the Iowa Law Review and the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel Foundation today at the University of Iowa College of Law.
The first panel this morning featured a fascinating discussion of successions issues across borders. For instance, Naomi Cahn (George Washington) spoke about the rule that gifts made in wills to spouses are deemed to be revoked upon divorce. She critiques this approach, particularly the fact that it conclusively presumes this result would have been in line with the testator’s will. David Horton (UC-Davis) continued with a discussion of what he calls “partial harmless error” in will-making. He shows how the concept has arisen in American courts and uses an empirical study to explore the costs and benefits of adhering to drafting formalities.
Gary Spitko (Santa Clara) discussed lessons that can be learned in the US regarding the succession rights of unmarried, committed partners in light of Scotland’s law reform in this area. Jeffrey Schoenblum (Vanderbilt) enlightened the group on recent problems with cross-border estate problems in martial property, specifically discussing a 2010 case whereby all of the stock in a US corporate was included in the decedent spouse’s estate because, despite the decedent’s domicile being in Belgium and therefore under a community property regime, the court held that the “martial domicile” was in the UK where the community property regime is not applicable. Lastly, Mariusz Zalucki (Krakow & Rzeszow Universities) gave an overview of attempts in Europe to bring some uniformity to the law of inheritance. Excellent moderating was provided by Shelton Kurtz (Iowa).
Stay tuned in for more updates as the day continues!