Wealth Transfer Law in Comparative and International Perspective: An Introduction

The articles in this issue of the Iowa Law Review are the polished products of a symposium on “Wealth Transfer Law in Comparative and International Perspective” held at The University of Iowa College of Law on September 8, 2017.

The symposium had four objectives: (1) to bring together prominent and up-and-coming scholars for the discussion of important issues in wealth transfer law from a comparative and international perspective; (2) to spur leading-edge research on wealth transfer law, looking beyond the borders of any one jurisdiction; (3) to encourage U.S. professors of trusts and estates to incorporate comparative and international perspectives into their scholarship and teaching; and (4) to promote collaborations and exchanges between U.S. and non-U.S. scholars.

The symposium consisted of three panels. The first panel, on “Comparative and International Perspectives on Succession,” featured papers by Professors Naomi Cahn of George Washington University, David Horton of the University of California at Davis, Jeffrey Schoenblum of Vanderbilt University, E. Gary Spitko of Santa Clara University, and Mariusz Zalucki of AFM Krakow University and the University of Rzeszów. The second panel, on “Comparative and International Perspectives on Trusts and Other Will Substitutes,” featured papers by co-authors Professors Richard Kaplan of the University of Illinois and Adam Hofri-Winogradow of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Paul Miller of the University of Notre Dame, S.I. Strong of the University of Missouri, Jamie Glister currently of the University of Sydney and soon moving to the University of Cambridge, and Jaume Tarabal of the University of Barcelona. The third panel, on “Comparative and International Perspectives from Asia,” featured papers by Professors Yun-Chien Chang of the Academia Sinica in Taipei, James Fisher of the University of Tokyo, Rebecca Lee of the University of Hong Kong, Masayuki Tamaruya of Rikkyo University, and Hang Wu Tang of Singapore Management University.

The panels were followed by the symposium’s keynote address, the College of Law’s Hugh J. and Frank Tamisiea Lecture in Wealth Transfer Law, delivered by Professor Lionel Smith of McGill University on the topic “Give the People What They Want?: The Onshoring of the Offshore.”

The symposium was sponsored by The University of Iowa College of Law and by the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (“ACTEC”) Foundation. We are grateful to both of these sponsors for their generous support. The ACTEC Foundation has sponsored a series of academic symposia, typically once every two years, on topics within the field of trusts and estates at law schools across the country, including most recently at the University of Michigan (2011), Vanderbilt University (2013), and Boston College (2015). We are delighted that this symposium at The University of Iowa was selected by ACTEC’s Legal Education Committee and the ACTEC Foundation for sponsorship in 2017.

In addition to thanking the ACTEC Foundation for financial support and The University of Iowa College of Law for financial and logistical support, we are very grateful to the Iowa Law Review for helping to organize the symposium and for publishing the papers resulting from it. The University of Iowa has a proud tradition of scholarship and teaching in the field of wealth transfer law, as well as in comparative and international law, and it is fitting that this symposium was held at The University of Iowa and published in the Iowa Law Review.


Associate Dean for Research and Allan D. Vestal Chair in Law, University of Iowa.


David H. Vernon Professor of Law, University of Iowa.