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Interdisciplinary UG research into public support for abolition of legitimate portion commissioned by WODC

05 December 2023

Dr Mark Beuker , Dr Hans ter Haar , Prof. Wilbert Kolkman , Prof. Leon Verstappen and Dr Irene Visser (Faculty of Law) will collaborate with Dr Marieke Haan and Dr Elianne Zijlstra (Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences) on a WODC research project. They were commissioned to examine the extent to which contemporary society is convinced that the legitimate portion is justified.

The legitimate portion

In Dutch law, freedom of testate is paramount: a parent may disinherit his child. However, the child in question then has an opportunity to take action against this disinheritance, namely by appealing to his or her legitimate portion. Roughly speaking, the legitimate portion is half the value of what the child would have received if the parent had not made a will and had not gifted anything.

Support and abolition

Beuker, ter Haar, Haan, Kolkman, Verstappen, Visser and Zijlstra have been commissioned by the WODC (Research and Documentation Centre) to conduct research on the legitimate portion. Using a mixed methods approach, they seek to answer two questions:

  • What is the social support for abolishing the legitimate portion?
  • What legal and social consequences (advantages and disadvantages) of abolishing the legitimate portion for children 21 years of age and older are to be expected?

After an explanation of the legitimate portion, the public support for the abolition of the legitimate portion in other comparable countries will be discussed. The core of the study is a survey of the Dutch population to arrow the support for the abolition of the legitimate portion. Finally, in-depth interviews are used to identify what the consequences of abolition would be, viewed from different social perspectives.

Starting this year

The results of the study are primarily intended for the government and parliament, to support their thinking about the continued existence of the legitimate portion. The study is expected to start in December 2023 and the WODC report will be delivered on 1 October 2024.

This article was published by the Faculty of Law.

Last modified:02 January 2024 12.27 p.m.
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