The Form of Ordinary Testaments Under Chinese and Russian Law and in the European Legal Tradition
This paper analyses regulations concerning ordinary forms of testament in Russian and Chinese legislation against the background of selected solutions specific for particular European legal systems. It begins with a brief analysis of the development of Chinese and Russian civil law. This is intended to show the differences, but also the similarities, between them, caused, among other things, by the influence of Soviet law as well as ongoing reforms of succession law in both countries. Such similarities justify the need for a comparative examination of these legal orders, while the European context makes it possible to highlight their specific features. Taking into account the aim of this study, particular attention is paid to the normative sources of inheritance law and the traditional division of testaments into ordinary and special wills, something which is a common feature of Russian law, Chinese law and European legal traditions. The paper then examines particular forms of wills commonly found in European legislation, and follows this with a discussion of whether such solutions exist in Chinese and Russian law. Forms of holographic and notarial wills are presented in this manner. Particular attention is paid to forms of wills that occur only in one legal order, e.g. printed testaments as well as video and audio testaments in Chinese law, as well as the several types of notarial wills in Russian law. The paper concludes with a discussion of Russian and Chinese legislation’s various approaches to preserving the genuine will of the testator and the security of the legal transaction.