Law

Law of Succession (Aut)

Module code: M3018
Level 6
15 credits in autumn teaching
Teaching method: Seminar
Assessment modes: Open examination

This module is concerned with the devolution of assets on death, often representing the culmination of a person’s accumulation of goods in a lifetime of work and saving. The module considers both the law of intestacy (where property devolves by rules of law because there is no will) and the law of wills.

We will explore the modes of transfering inherited wealth and property on death in a social context, focusing on the idea of freedom of testation (which is particularly strong in this jurisdiction) and in the social context in which that principle operates. Here, we will consider the consequences that freedom of testation may have for poverty and the impact that that may have on the State’s obligation to alleviate poverty. The adequacy of current legislation to provide for the meeting of support obligations to family and dependants will be considered in this light.

The module will cover not only wills and intestacy, but also probate and the administration of estates (although in this regard the outline ideas rather than the technical details will be relevant to our study).

Module learning outcomes

  • Understand and offer critical reflections of the rules of intestacy and the administration of the estate of a person who dies without a will.
  • Understand and offer critical reflections on the legal rules for making a will, and for the administration of a testator's estate.
  • Critically analyse the adequacy of the rules of succession in their social, political and ideological context.
  • Carry out independent study and research using a range of legal and social science materials.