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Disinheritance vs. Forced Heirship: A Comparative Study Between the Succession Regimes of the United States and France

“Max, we love you and feel a great responsibility to leave the world a better place for you and all children,” writes Mark Zuckerberg in “A Letter to Our Daughter.” He continues, “But once we understand the world we can create for your generation, we have a responsibility as a society to focus our investments on the future to make this reality.” Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, with the help of U.S. succession regimes allowing testamentary freedom, can invest much of their wealth into the public sector, rather than within their family, to address inequalities in society created by inherited capital. In France, however, this kind of decision would be prohibited under its succession regime of forced heirship articulated in article 913 of the French Civil Code. Zuckerberg and Chan would need to pass down a larger share of their fortune to their daughter and thus miss the opportunity to create greater good.

Examining Key Concepts in Ground Leases

Mentioning the words “ground lease” can cause the reader to envision a convoluted transaction whose terms are difficult to translate into a document that is agreeable to all parties. Without diminishing the obstacles that typically face parties to a ground lease transaction, this is an overstatement. Like any other real estate transaction, a ground lease is fundamentally a business deal. One of the main advantages of a ground lease is that it offers the parties predictability over a long period of time. Consequently, the drafting process can and should flow directly out of the business terms the parties have negotiated. In other words, the lawyer’s job is to apply the economic terms of the deal to structure a document that reflects the parties’ bargain. By adhering to this understanding, the lawyer can simplify even the most complex ground lease transaction into the task of assembling numerous parts into a coherent whole.

Frequently Asked Questions About Medicare

Medicare is the foundation for most retirees’ health care. Sixty-one percent of Americans over 50 plan to use it to pay for health-care costs in retirement. Even with Medicare, most fear health-care costs in retirement. Seventy-four percent said that one of their top fears in retirement is their health-care costs going out of control. Sixty-four percent said they are “terrified of what health-care costs may do” to their retirement plans. Nationwide’s Health Care Costs in Retirement Survey, October 2016.

The New Model Negotiated Alternative to the Foreclosure Act

One of the many painful lessons learned from the mortgage crisis that began in 2007 is that foreclosure is often a costly, slow, inefficient, and uncertain process. The additional cost and uncertainty for lenders are magnified when the balance of the mortgage debt exceeds the value of the collateral (that is, when the borrower is “underwater”), and thus full recovery by the lender of its investment is unlikely. Ways to avoid this misery are for the lender (usually represented by the servicer for a secondary market purchaser or a securitized trust) and the borrower to enter into a deed in lieu of foreclosure or for the lender to approve a short sale.

One Parcel Plus One Parcel Equals a "Parcel as a Whole": Murr v. Wisconsin’s Fluid Calculations for Regulatory Takings

The Court’s most recent major property law case, Murr v. Wisconsin, 137 S. Ct. 1933 (2017), tackles one of the thorny, recurring issues in regulatory takings jurisprudence: what is the proper “denominator” to use in determining whether a government regulation has so greatly diminished the economic value of a parcel of land that it effects a taking? More specifically, Murr looked at what constitutes the “parcel as a whole” when a landowner holds title to two contiguous lots. Should a court assess the economic impact on the value of each lot separately or the impact on the value of the two lots together? In answering that question, the Court added another multi-factored test to the already complex web of regulatory takings law.

When Inquiring Minds Ought to Know . . . , Part II

Last year, in this magazine, the authors provided an introduction to the doctrine of inquiry notice. Donald J. Kochan & James Charles Smith, When Inquiring Minds Ought to Know . . . , Prob. & Prop., July/Aug. 2017, at 57. That article also focused on language in recorded instruments that triggers a duty to discover more about the state of title. Sometimes what you see in a document can create a duty to take a closer look at the property, and other times taking a look at the property can heighten the necessity to ask further questions about possible outstanding rights. Now the authors focus on the traditional rule that physical possession by persons inconsistent with recorded instruments usually triggers a duty to inquire about the possessors’ rights, the major exceptions to the duty to inquire about possession, and circumstances when visible evidence of use may trigger inquiry into the existence of an unrecorded easement or other servitude. We will cover each category in turn across this article.

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