The Concept of Commorientes in French and Russian Inheritance Law

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Élodie Créteau, Natalia Rostovtseva



The article is devoted to the consideration of the concept of commorientes in French and Russian inheritance law. The commorientes are individuals, entitled to inherit, reciprocally, to each other and considered to have died at the same moment, from the inheritance’s point of view. The commorientes do not inherit reciprocally. The work focuses on how French and Russian law determine the notion of commorientes. Inheritance rules, regarding the commorientes in France and Russian Federation from the beginning of the 19th century are analysed; subsequently, their current versions in force in the French Civil Code and the Russian Federation Civil Code are compared. Particular attention is paid to the issue of the time of the inheritance opening. In the Russian legislation this issue has not been unambiguously resolved for a long time. The article presents the evolution of the Russian and French rules on inheritance after the commorientes. In French law, presumptions of survival have been in effect for many years, allowing to determine the sequence of deaths of people who died as a result of the same event. The article contains the rules of the current legislation in France and in the Russian Federation, as well as suggestions for their improvement.

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