Category Archives: Succession

‘Video wills “risky and unnecessary”, solicitors claim

“Video-witnessed wills are dangerous, unnecessary and will ‘inevitably’ cause a rise in inheritance disputes, some solicitors have warned following the government’s announcement of an emergency change in the law. The Ministry of Justice announced on Saturday that a statutory instrument allowing wills to be witnessed remotely in England and Wales will be laid in September […]

Katheleen Guzman, ‘Wills Speak’

INTRODUCTION … Part II explores how a duly executed will (or even failed attempt) can hold legal consequence long before its maker dies and expectancies vest. As such, ‘nascent’ wills actually do have much to say, and rightly so, which is a reality that underdetermined internalization of the ‘no will speaks’ conclusion may have obscured. […]

Adam Hirsch, ‘Waking the Dead: An Empirical Analysis of Revival of Wills’

ABSTRACT The problem of revival arises when a testator executes a first will, subsequently executes a second will that functions to revoke the first one by subsequent executed writing, and then later revokes the second will by act. Does this sequence of events reinstate the first will (‘revival’) or leave the testator intestate (‘anti-revival’)? Most […]

Alexander Boni-Saenz, ‘Empirical Inheritance Law’

ABSTRACT Empirical legal scholars tell it like it is. The nature of the ‘it’ that we might want to know about varies significantly by legal field, however, and it also differs based on one’s scholarly position within that field. This Comment explores the major ways that empirical legal scholarship can be valuable to those of […]

‘Legacy Control’

Andrew Gilden, The Social Afterlife, 33 Harvard Journal of Law and Technology 229 (2020), available at SSRN. The COVID-19 crisis has compelled many of us to move our lives (further) online, creating new social interactions and communities, as well as a larger digital footprint. The pandemic has also forced us to confront the risks and […]

Peter Wendel, ‘Testamentary Transfers and the Intent versus Formalities Debate: The Case for a “Charitable” Common Ground’

ABSTRACT The dominant issue in the law of wills for much of last half century has been how much formality the law should require before giving effect to a party’s testamentary intent. The traditionalists favor: (1) the maintaining the prevailing approach to the Wills Act formalities; (2) strict enforcement of those formalities; and (3) courts […]

Mariusz Załucki, ‘About the Need to Adjust the Regulations Regarding the Form of Will to the Modern Requirements’

ABSTRACT A will is a traditional instrument for disposing of property in the event of death. Model solutions of this kind date back to Roman times, which survived thousands of years and are still, in a slightly modified form, in the legal regulations of individual states. However, recent years have been a period of intensive […]

Grayson McCouch, ‘Another Perspective on Testamentary Arbitration’

ABSTRACT The American law of succession is remarkable both for its expansive concept of testamentary freedom and for its antiquated and cumbersome probate system. In principle, a testator enjoys virtually unlimited freedom to dispose by will of property owned at death, but enforcement of the testator’s directions generally requires a proceeding in a probate court […]

Naomi Cahn, ‘What’s Wrong About the Elective Share “Right”?’

ABSTRACT This Article examines one form of property rights available to a surviving spouse, the elective share. The elective share serves as an override to a testator’s stated intent by allowing the surviving spouse to choose to take a portion of the decedent’s estate – even if the will explicitly disinherits the surviving spouse. The […]

‘I do declare! Could a test case on remote witnessing wills be brought before death?’

“My last two posts have looked at the issue of will-making during the coronavirus pandemic, and the difficulties of socially distant witnessing, and some of the proposals for reform of the law of wills and the options for a temporary solution to the difficulties faced by testators during the pandemic. In this post, I address […]