Inheritance law

When founded in 1980, LEGRAND LESAGE-CATEL set up a branch dedicated to inheritance law and life assurance, serving an historic customer base of associations and foundations pursuing cultural, religious, charitable, scientific and artistic aims.

Private clients are also served by this branch.

Intellectual property rights when bequeathed, assigned or forming part of a deceased’s estate, are governed by special rules, which require in-depth knowledge of the applicable law and regulations. The scope of assignation of title and to whom, must be precisely ascertained and the enabling deeds checked for their formal compliance, including duties and counterparty expenses to be discharged, the rules governing publicity and challenges, the consents if any required, the nature of non-transferable moral rights, and of the rights of blood-relative inheritors and other beneficiaries.

The formal procedures to be complied with and the resulting tax liabilities are handled in close collaboration with the notaries and relevant official bodies.

Disputes and litigation, when they arise, often involve substantial sums. They have in the last few years given rise to important decisions in support of the discretionary wishes of the deceased, in terms of assets bequeathed, gifts, testamentary provisions and the proceeds of life-assurance paid out in the beneficial interest of associations exonerated from death duties.

Some specific issues arising …

How to interpret the express testamentary wishes of the deceased in the beneficial interest of the disadvantaged or homeless, when funds are bequeathed to the fight against specified medical conditions, to medical or other scientific research, to child protection organisations or to religious constituencies? The courts enjoy latitude in their interpretation of case law, where current circumstances and the ever-importance of precedent are finely weighed.

The beneficiary of life assurance may by will of the subscriber be the universal legatee. What then of consanguine relatives and of their statutory rights to the deceased’s estate?

What of liabilities arising by way of inheritance which it is impossible to discharge or which may become so?

These are some of the many issues where their detailed knowledge of case law is a guide to LEGRAND LESAGE-CATEL lawyers and a major contributory factor to favourable outcomes.