Disappointed "Heirs" as a Socio-Legal Phenomenon

Disappointed "Heirs" as a Socio-Legal Phenomenon

This paper focuses on the socio-legal characteristics of succession battles, drawn from a large-scale empirical study of contemporary inheritance and probate procedures and conflicts in Israel. The study shows that litigating disappointed "heirs", i.e. people who challenge the division of the estate...

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Journal Title: Oñati Socio-Legal Series
Author: Daphna Hacker
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Language: English
Get full text: http://opo.iisj.net/index.php/osls/article/view/296
Resource type: Journal Article
Source: Oñati Socio-Legal Series; Vol 4, No 2 (Year 2014).
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Publisher: Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law - Instituto Internacional de Sociología Jurídica de Oñati
Usage rights: Reconocimiento - NoComercial - SinObraDerivada (by-nc-nd)
Subjects: Social Sciences/Humanities --> Law
Social Sciences/Humanities --> Social Sciences, Interdisciplinary
Social Sciences/Humanities --> Sociology
Abstract: This paper focuses on the socio-legal characteristics of succession battles, drawn from a large-scale empirical study of contemporary inheritance and probate procedures and conflicts in Israel. The study shows that litigating disappointed "heirs", i.e. people who challenge the division of the estate because their inheritance hopes have been shattered, are an exception to the rule of undisputed probate and administration of estates. Moreover, the findings point to the will as a risk factor which allows disappointed "heirs" to approach the court, while legal disputes in intestate cases are even scarcer. Based on the findings, the paper also offers a typology of the relational triangles between the deceased, the alleged heirs, and the disappointed "heirs" - which characterize most of the cases studied. This typology is correlated to the finding that most succession conflicts are not among nuclear family members, but among parties who are remote relatives or with no family relation. Finally, the study documents two dominant outcomes of succession battles: out-of-court compromises that do not respect the prima facie deceased's last wishes; and the irreversible destruction of relationships between siblings. The paper ends with a discussion of the sociological question concerning the possible increase or decrease of the phenomenon of disappointed "heirs", and of the legal implications of the study's findings. Este artculo se centra en las caractersticas sociojurdicas de las disputas de sucesin, obtenidas a partir de un estudio emprico a gran escala de los procedimientos contemporneos de herencias y sucesiones y los conflictos en Israel. El estudio demuestra que los herederos decepcionados que litigan, es decir, las personas que cuestionan la divisin de los bienes porque no se han colmado sus expectativas, son una excepcin a la regla de las sucesiones y administracin de bienes sin disputas. Es ms, los resultados apuntan al testamento como factor de riesgo que permite a los herederos decepcionados a acudir a la justicia, mientras que las disputas legales en los casos de intestados son ms escasas si cabe. Basndose en los resultados obtenidos, el artculo tambin ofrece una tipologa de la relacin triangular que se establece entre el fallecido, los supuestos herederos, y los herederos decepcionados - que caracterizan la mayora de los casos estudiados. Esta tipologa est correlacionada con el hallazgo de que la mayora de los conflictos de sucesin no se dan entre los miembros de la familia nuclear, sino entre las partes que son parientes distantes o sin relacin familiar. Por ltimo, el estudio documenta dos resultados dominantes en las disputas de sucesin: acuerdos alcanzados fuera del juzgado, que no respetan la presuncin de ltima voluntad del fallecido; y la destruccin irreversible de las relaciones entre hermanos. El artculo finaliza con un debate sobre la cuestin sociolgica que atae al posible aumento o disminucin del fenmeno de los herederos decepcionados, as como de las implicaciones legales de los resultados del estudio. DOWNLOAD THIS PAPER FROM SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2431008