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LS4501: SUCCESSION (2021-2022)

Last modified: 31 May 2022 13:05

Course Overview

The course examines in detail complex areas of the law of succession and trusts with an emphasis being placed on discursive reasoning. The topics considered will include vesting in an executor and beneficiary, the absence of beneficiaries, the nature and roles of an executor and trustee, survivorship of beneficiaries and common calamities, formal and essential validity of wills (including the issue of execution of wills by adults with incapacity), updating out of date wills by means of the various conditiones applied by Scots law and similar rules in other legal systems, limitations on testamentary freedom, forfeiture and unworthiness of heirs.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 25 credits (12.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Professor Roderick R. M. Paisley

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Course Description

Course Aims: The course aims to provide students with a knowledge and understanding of the more difficult areas of contemporary Scots Succession law and the disposal and transfer of property on death and an insight in to how other legal systems deal with these issues. These include the nature of an executor’s rights, the rights of a trustee and the rights of a beneficiary, the capacity required to take up such roles, the pre-conditions of inheritance including survivorship, how legal systems deal with common calamities, how a beneficiary may be disqualified from inheritance, the limitations on testamentary freedom, the requirements of formal validity and the requirement to keep a will up to date. Alternatives to succession will be considered including burial and destruction of property including culturally significant objects. Main Learning Outcomes: Knowledge and Understanding By the end of the course, you should know:
  • The essential characteristics of trusts and the role of an executor quoad the beneficiaries;

  • The methods by which major legal systems deal with common calamities;

  • The distinctions between the English and Scottish approaches to limitations on testamentary freedom;

  • Wills with lesser requirements of formality;

  • Legal approaches to the protection of the weak-minded testator and beneficiary;

  • The methods of dealing with out of date wills;

  • The doctrines by which a party may be disqualified from inheriting. The main aim is to examine in greater depth than is possible in the general class issues arising in the law of succession. While the detail of the existing rules is important, it will also be important to consider the practical and economic effects of the rules. Another principal aim is to foster the ability to conduct independent research and to be sure that propositions of law have taken account of any legislative or judicial changes. This necessarily involves self-motivated learning and the habit of regularly checking Current Law and the journals. By the end of the course you will have a detailed knowledge of some of the practical and theoretical issues currently arising in the law of succession and of the methods of resolving them. Subject-Specific Skills and Concepts (a) The ability to plan a succession to property and a title to land; (b) The ability to categorise and analyse mortis causa rights in land; (c) The ability and skill to modifying rights to inherit within legal limits; (d) How to organise a funeral. Key Skills (Transferable) The skills which a student will acquire by the end of the course include the following:

  • The ability to distinguish the relevant from the irrelevant;

  • The ability to bring together information and materials from a variety of different sources;

  • The critical judgement of the merits of particular arguments and the ability to make a reasoned choice between alternative solutions;

  • The ability to think at a conceptual level and to simplify and to develop and apply frameworks and models;

  • The ability to act independently in undertaking tasks in the areas of law you have studied;

  • The ability to reflect on your learning;

  • The ability to seek and make use of feedback. Content: The honours Succession course examines in detail complex issues arising from contemporary succession theory and practices. This includes the legal effect of death on property and rights; the concept of civil death and its use; the law on disappeared persons; the limitations on testamentary freedom; the requirements of formal and essential validity including the special position of vulnerable adults with incapacity; the doctrines used to deal with out of date wills and revocation; the issue of unworthiness and exclusion from inheritance.

  • Contact Teaching Time

    Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

    Teaching Breakdown

    More Information about Week Numbers

    Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

    Summative Assessments

    2 x 2,500-word essays (50% each).

    A pass in both essays required for an overall pass.

    Formative Assessment

    There are no assessments for this course.

    Course Learning Outcomes

    Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
    FactualRememberILO’s for this course are available in the course guide.

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