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Maccoun/Watts v. Lanari/Meyer
Aix-en-Provence Court of Appeal
Aix-en-Provence Court of Appeal October 22, 1964 (1964)
Aristide Lanari, an Italian citizen, and his second wife, Roberta Maccoun (defendant), an American citizen, were living in France when Lanari died. Before his death, Lanari opened several accounts and safe deposits in various locations outside of France, jointly with his wife or in her name. Lanari also gave his wife numerous gifts and executed a holographic will giving most of his estate to her. Lanari had a daughter from his first marriage, Maria Elena Meyer (plaintiff). Meyer, a Swiss citizen, challenged the proposed estate disposition, asserting that under French law, Maccoun could take no more than one-fourth of the estate and that the remainder belonged to Meyer. Meyer also contended that the various gifts and transfer of assets to other countries were an illegal attempt to conceal or disguise assets to avoid French law, which seeks to protect the rights of children of first marriages. Maccoun died during the proceedings, and a representative on behalf of Maccoun’s three sisters, who were her heirs, replaced her. Maccoun’s representative argued that the gifts made outside of France should be governed by the law of the place of the gifts and that the remainder of the estate covered by the will should be governed by Italian law based on Lanari’s citizenship. The French tribunal de grande instance agreed with Meyer and ordered apportionment of the estate, including the prior gifts and assets transfers to other jurisdictions, to be subject to French law. Maccoun appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)
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