A conference analysing inheritance law and family business in Catalonia

27/11/15
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Catalan notary publics and scholars in the field of inheritance law met at UIC Barcelona to take part in the Conference on Succession and Family Business organised by the Faculty of Law's Family Business Chair.

The conference's first edition, organised by Lecturer Toni Bosch, a notary public and lecturer in the Faculty of Law, included a series of distinguished speakers. Here, professionals, educators and legislators shared impressions and viewpoints about how to regulate family business, an institution with deep roots in Catalonia, when it comes to inheritance law. They pointed out problems in the existing legal framework and discussed possible solutions.

The welcome address was given by the Director-General of the Family Business Institute, Mr D. Joan Corona. This was followed by the first lecture, "Pactos sucesorios y ordenación conjunta de la sucesión de los cónyuges en la empresa familiar" (Succession Agreements and the Joint Planning of Spouses' Inheritance in Family Businesses), by Dr Joan Egea Fernández, Chair of Civil Law at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Chairman of the Council for Statutory Guarantees for six years and member of the committee responsible for drafting Book Four of the Catalan Civil Code (CCCat).

During his presentation, Dr Corona advocated the benefits and legal protection succession agreements provide, both for the testator and heir, with regard to the transmission of family businesses in particular and inheritance in general.

"As early as the 11th century, with Usages, Catalan law began to break away from Roman law. The role of the heir and the smallholder spirit of the Masos Bovers prompted the appearance of succession agreements, which at that time took the form of universal donations, of the father's present and future assets, in the eldest son's prenuptial agreement", explained the professor.

He was especially critical of the absence, in the CCCat, of instruments such as joint wills, which exist in the regulations of other countries, such as Germany. He also added that the text fills this void, also a major problem according to Bosch and Corona, who shared the table with him during the explanation, with preventive inheritance pacts, though they regretfully admitted that such pacts are not an easy concept to explain to people drafting wills.

In the afternoon, the conference continued with the round table entitled "Realidad de los pactos sucesorios en Cataluña: casos prácticos" (The Reality of Succession Agreements in Catalonia: Practical Examples), which featured notary publics Jesús Gómez Taboada, Lluís Jou Mirabent and Antoni Bosch and was moderated by Lawyer Tatiana Cucurull Poblet.

The conference ended with the lecture "Pactos sucesorios en nuestro entorno internacional" (Succession Agreements in Our Global Context) by Dr Albert Font Segura, Tenured Lecturer of Private International Law at the Pompeu Fabra University.