Sun, Nov. 28, 2004

Statutory Share in Estate

CK - Washington.   Under the inheritance rules of the Civil Code, heirs may be entitled to a statutory share in an estate. Certain gifts made before the death of the decedent reduce the estate in a manner that affords heirs a claim to their return in order to increase their statutory share. The MCNeubert blog reports on such a claim against a charitable institution that was resolved on November 26, 2004.

The matter involves a charitable donation to a charity in Dresden, chartered as a foundation, Stiftung Frauenkirche. The donation reduced the assets of the estate by some 2.5 million Euros. An heir claimed the refund of this amount under §2329(1) of the Civil Code, Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch. The foundation countered that the gift did not enrich it because it served as a trustee for the Dresden building known as Frauenkirche and the moneys went directly into the reconstruction of the building. The lower courts agreed with the foundation.

The Supreme Court held that the foundation was enriched because the building is its major asset and remanded the matter for a revised decision to the appellate court in Dresden, judgment of December 10, 2003, docket number IV ZR 249/02. MCNeubert reports now that the parties settled the dispute on Friday: The foundation will pay 785,000 Euros to the heir.

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