Bridget Crawford, ‘The Socioeconomics of Twenty-First Century Wills Formalities’

Abstract
Individuals have executed wills the same way for centuries. But over time, traditional traditional requirements have relaxed. This Article makes two principal claims, both of which disrupt fundamental assumptions about the purposes and functions of wills formalities. First, the traditional requirements that a will must be in writing and signed by the testator in the presence of (or acknowledged before) witnesses have never adequately served the stated their stated purposes. For that reason, strict compliance with formalities cannot be justified by their cautionary, protective, evidentiary and channeling functions. Reducing or eliminating most of the long-standing requirements for execution of a will is consistent with the true purpose of wills formalities – authenticating a document as the one executed by the testator with the intention of having it serve as the binding directive for the post-mortem distribution of the testator’s property …

Crawford, Bridget J, The Socioeconomics of Twenty-First Century Wills Formalities (September 30, 2018).

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