‘Strict Compliance and Wills Act Formalities’

Peter T Wendel, Wills Act Compliance and the Harmless Error Approach: Flawed Narrative Equals Flawed Analysis?, 95 Oregon Law Review 337 (2017). In the law of Wills, the testator’s intent is of upmost importance. If there is clear and convincing evidence of a testator’s intent, then a document intended to be his or her will should be probated, right? Not so fast – according to Professor John Langbein, in a jurisdiction that has adopted the strict compliance approach to Wills Act formalities a document will not constitute a validly executed will if all of the statutory requirements are not met, even when evidence shows that the testator intended the document to be his or her will. Langbein penned substantial compliance and harmless error proposals as alternatives to strict compliance. In Wills Act Compliance and the Harmless Error Approach: Flawed Narrative Equals Flawed Analysis?, Professor Peter T Wendel asserts that Professor Langbein has not framed the narrative correctly and therefore the analysis of the issue is flawed. He rephrases the narrative so that the debate can continue in a less simplistic manner … (more)

[Camille Davidson, JOTWELL, 7 December]

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