- Forced heirship
Forced heirship is a reference to the testamentary
lawswhich limit the discretion of the testatorto distribute assets under a will or codicilon death. [http://books.google.com/books?id=2D9ff7T028oC&pg=PA54&lpg=PA54&dq=forced+heirship&source=web&ots=0yfaccEvOs&sig=1Z-9RdQ2UGLvLhOgGxjB98p2eCU#PPA53,M1] Forced heirship laws are most prevalent amongst civil law jurisdictions and in Islamiccountries; these include major countries such as France, Saudi Arabia, the U.S.A.(in Louisiana) [ [http://www.baldwinhaspel.com/publications-41.html Baldwin & Haspel: Publications: Louisiana Forced Heirship (A reminder that it is still with us.) ] ] , and Japan.
Black's Law Dictionary" defines a forced heir as:
Advocates of forced heirship contend that it is perfectly proper for testators to be required to make adequate provision for their dependents, and that most countries in the world permit wills to be varied where they would leave dependents destitute. Critics suggest that there is a great difference between varying wills to the minimum degree to provide sufficient financial support for dependents and prohibiting the testator from distributing the estate or a proportion of the estate to any female children, or younger male children, and that it cannot be any less repugnant to force a deceased person's assets to distribute their assets in a certain manner on their death than it would be to tell them how they may do so during their lifetime.
Wealthy individuals sometimes seek to circumvent forced heirship laws by transferring assets into an
offshore companyand seeking to settle the shares in the offshore company in a trust governed by the laws of a jurisdiction outside their domicile.
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