oa Fundamina : A Journal of Legal History - Sobre el heredamiento como excepción a los principios romanos de Derecho sucesorio en el vigente Código Civil de Cataluña
The most recent codification of civil law in Catalonia (Spain) has respected, accepted and retained the strong influence that Roman law has traditionally had on the Catalan legal system, from its first codification in 1960 to the 2008 Book IV of the Catalan Civil Code. The similarity between Catalan law and Roman law may be ascribed to historical reasons, though political motives have favoured its continuation. The preamble to Book IV sets out the basic principles on which inheritance law is constructed: a) the need for the concept of an heir; b) the universality of the title of heir; c) the incompatibility of inheritance titles (nemo pro parte testatus pro parte intestatus decedere potest), and d) the durability of an inheritance title (semel heres semper heres). These four are clearly Roman, but there is a final principle: e) preference under a discretionary title, which relates to a special case in Catalonia: contractual inheritance, that we call "heredamiento." This is the only principle that does not coincide with Roman law, which did not allow inheritance to be determined by a provision inter vivos. Heredamiento is a traditional legal notion that has evolved significantly, as there has been a desire to harmonise it with the principles of Roman law. It has taken many forms, from universal donation to the current provision, which is seen as contractual succession. The present article focuses on the history of the concept of heredamiento as a counterpoint to the major Roman principles mentioned above.
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