Author(s) Vânia Catarina de Freitas Ribeiro
Advisor(s) Cristina Dias
Year 2015

Synopsis The deceased’s estate disposal meddles with an aspect of the succession regime that has a colossal interest not only for the decedent, but also for outsiders as they are the ones that could benefit from the testamentary or legal provisions that are present in the law or testament, at the succession authors death. A point that initially seems important to me to acknowledge is a certain ideological indifference concerning the succession rights. The fact is more surprising when it is certain that we live in harsh ideological conflict times, and that this conflict fundamentally centers itself on the criteria of the assets appropriation and its distribution. Being the mortis causa a way of estate attribution – estate left without bearer due to the passing of a singular person – it would be natural to be dragged to the center of the debate. However it is not so – the mortis causa succession is a domain widely forgotten, or at least that hasn’t been an arena of spectacular offenses and defenses2. We couldn’t agree more with the widely exalted words on the excerpt referred to above. Due to the delimitation operated by the law plus adding the intention of safeguarding the familiar core and by the apology made since the New State, based on the consanguineous dictatorship and on the idea of the “family” nucleus protection, the estate disposition is limited by the legislator to the successors classes, constituted by the closest family members of the decedent. At the moment of the succession opening, successor classes duly molded in the law by the legislator, can legally enjoy a quote of the heritage, not by merit or the decedents will, but simply by legal imposition and for not being able – in our ordering – another possibility. It seems consensual that this ideology based on the family bond has been showing itself to be inappropriate and falling in disuse, as we can see with the structural alteration of the Portuguese families in which little or nothing resemble to the traditional families dynamics in precedent centuries.

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