Publication details

The Importance of Having an Heir

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Year of publication 2019
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Law

Description The appointment of an heir is the key provision in Roman testaments. It reflects the importance of having an heir from the point of view of the Romans. As the heir was the universal successor of the deceased, he replaced him in all relations apart from those purely personal. Thus, he received not only the rights related to the property (both assets and debts), but he also had the duty to execute private religious acts (sacra privata). From today’s point of view, it is mainly (or exclusively) the heir, for whom is this position important. However, within the frame of Roman law, there were many more people, for whom the existence of heir was essential. First, the deceased’s concern – the perpetuation of a family and its name (and the execution of sacra privata) was possible only when having the heir – dying intestate would be a shame. The importance of of the heir is obvious, provided the estate is not insolvent. Another group consists of the creditors of the deceased because the heir will pay the debts of the deceased. Finally, the existence of an heir was important for legatees as they could obtain legacies only after the acceptance of the inheritance by the heir (dies cedens & dies veniens).
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