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Minimum share

(320 words)

Author(s): Manthe, Ulrich (Passau)
[German version] As wills passing over sons were not admissible in classical Greek law ( diathḗkē B.), the question of minimum share did not arise. Even in Roman law, however, a law of minimum share for close relatives developed only slowly. At the beginning of the development there was the right of mandatory heirs ( Succession, laws of III E) to invalidate the will entirely or receive at least a part of the estate in case they were passed over ( praeteritio ). Against disinheritance ( exheredatio ) the mandatory heirs were powerless. A true right of minimum share did exist for a patronus

Vacantia bona

(169 words)

Author(s): Manthe, Ulrich (Passau)
[German version] An heirless estate ( Bona ). In the Republic, the members of the gens of a deceased person had a right of acquisition (Gai. Inst. 3,17); if they did not exercise it, anybody could take possession of the estate and obtain it by usucapio ('adverse possession') (Gai. Inst. 2,52-58). If in a will ( Testamentum ) an heir was appointed, but had become unavailable, the will and all its dispositions were ineffective. From the lex Iulia et Papia (18/9 BC) onwards the VB fell as a caducum ('forfeited') to the state, which also fulfilled the provisions of t…

Wills and testaments

(3,807 words)

Author(s): Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen) | Manthe, Ulrich (Passau)
[German version] [1] (Religion) see Bible; Christianity; New Testament Apocrypha; Septuagint; Testamentary literature; Vulgate (Religion) see Bible; Christianity; New Testament Apocrypha; Septuagint; Testamentary literature; Vulgate Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) [German version] [2] History of law (History of law) Hengstl, Joachim (Marburg/Lahn) [German version] I. General Testament (from the Latin testamentum in the sense of the final will made before witnesses; see below IV.) denotes a unilateral 'last will and testament' (or, in common E…

Succession, laws of

(1,791 words)

Author(s): Thür, Gerhard (Graz) | Manthe, Ulrich (Passau) | Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East see Cuneiform, legal texts in Thür, Gerhard (Graz) [German version] II. Greek Succession laws in Greece primarily followed the concept of family succession. Greek law therefore contained several provisions to secure succession within the family group even where there were no legitimate sons ( gnesioi). For example, eispoíēsis allowed the nomination of a non-testamentary heir, a process akin to adoption. Where such a replacement heir was also absent, the inheritance ( klḗros ) either passed to lateral kin ( anchisteía ) or via the daughters to descendants in the female line ( epíklēros ). In addition to the transfer of the inheritance to these heirs variously, so to speak, 'born' or (in the case of the eispoiesis) 'chosen', the apportioning of individual objects of bequest within the inheritance or of the entire inheritance by will (in detail s. diathḗkē) was also widespread in Greek law. However, freedom of testatorship was by no means recognized throughout Greece. The inheritance passed automatically to the legitimate sons (natural and adopted wi…

Lex Iulia et Papia

(204 words)

Author(s): Manthe, Ulrich (Passau)
[German version] To improve conjugal morals and to combat childlessness, Augustus, through the lex Iulia de maritandis ordinibus (18 BC), forbade marriages outside one's class and ordered through the lex Papia Poppaea (AD 9) that citizens of a marriageable age had a duty to marry, with unmarried people penalized by the forfeiture ( caducum ) of assets gifted to them in wills, and childless married people with the forfeiture of half of this; on the other hand, anyone who had children was accorded numerous privileges ( ius liberorum, ‘children's privilege’). Which regulations should…


(325 words)

Author(s): Manthe, Ulrich (Passau)
[German version] In Roman law the appointment of a substitute heir ( substitutus), so as to avoid the danger that a will might become ineffective through the potential absence of the heir appointed by it (as a consequence of prior death or refusal; Succession, laws of III. D.). Instances of the modern-day persistence of substitutio vulgaris ('common substitution') are ' gemeine Substitutio' (§ 604 Austrian ABGB) and ' Ersatzerbeinsetzung' (§ 2096 German BGB). In the case of dependent minors of either sex, a Roman testator could prepare a second will settling the su…

Aditio hereditatis

(76 words)

Author(s): Manthe, Ulrich (Passau)
[German version] According to Roman law a suus heres acquired the inheritance left to him without any further action on his part, but an extraneus only on accession ( aditio). The aditio could take place by formal declaration of accession ( cretio) or by informal exercise of the will to accept ( pro herede gestio).  Succession, law of III B;  Abstentio Manthe, Ulrich (Passau) Bibliography 1 H. Honsell, Th. Mayer-Maly, W. Selb, Röm. Recht, 41987, 469 ff. 2 Kase…


(202 words)

Author(s): Manthe, Ulrich (Passau)
[German version] In Roman law the relationship between persons who are under the manus or patria potestas of the same pater familias or would be if he were still alive (in other words were descended from him in a purely male line, not interrupted by emancipation, Gai. Inst. 1,156). Those persons subjected to this power, who on the death of their pater familias immediately became free from power ( sui iuris), formed the narrower circle of the  


(126 words)

Author(s): Manthe, Ulrich (Passau)
[German version] The last will and testament written down as an informal document. In a codicil, only individual instructions could be laid down, but not the appointment or removal of an heir. Codicils were valid as an amendment to a testament if their establishment was reserved in an earlier testament or confirmed in a later one ( c. testamento confirmati); non-confirmed codicils (intestate codicil) could only contain entails. A so-called codicillary clause of the content indicating that a testament should also be valid in case of formal errors, allowe…

Querela inofficiosi testamenti

(295 words)

Author(s): Manthe, Ulrich (Passau)
[German version] 'Complaint because of a testament contrary to duty'. If, according to Roman law, a next-of-kin of a testator was effectively disinherited (Succession, laws of, III. E) or bequeathed less than one quarter of his legal share of the inheritance ( intestatus), and if he had not received this quarter through a bequest ( legatum, fideicommissum) or donation moved by the consideration of death ( donatio mortis causa), he could go before the centumviri or use the cognitio extra ordinem to demand the annulment of the testament by QIT against the testament's benefici…

Bonorum possessio

(105 words)

Author(s): Manthe, Ulrich (Passau)
[German version] In Roman law of succession the right to possession of a bequest, granted by the praetor. The bonorum possessor was not the heir by ius civile ( heres), but in certain cases could defend himself against inheritance actions by the heir (Gai. Inst. 3,35ff.). According to whether the praetor's opinion as to succession was based on statute, on the will itself or on special circumstances, distinctions were made between bonorum possessio intestati, secundum tabulas and contra tabulas.  Bona;  Succession, law of Manthe, Ulrich (Passau) Bibliography 1 H. Honsell, Th. Mayer…
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