The Specter of Civil Law Clawback Actions Haunting U.S. and UK Charitable Giving

Volume 26 No. 3

by

Aaron Schwabach is a professor of law at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, California. A longer and somewhat different version of this article was originally published as Of Charities and Clawbacks: The European Union Proposal on Successions and Wills as a Threat to Charitable Giving, 17 Colum. J. Eur. L. 447 (2011).

The recent European Union proposal to bring about a more uniform body of law governing choice of law and related issues in international inheritance cases is, perhaps, a necessary response to the increasingly international nature of the EU’s (and the world’s) inhabitants and their assets, but as written, it is rather heavily tilted toward the civil law values of continental Europe and threatens to collide jarringly with common law traditions, in particular the U.S. fondness for trusts and charitable giving.

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