Testamentary Formalities in Historical and Comparative Perspective

Comparative Succession Law, Vol. 1: Testamentary Formalities, pp. 432-471, Kenneth G.C. Reid, Marius J. de Waal and Reinhard Zimmermann, eds., Oxford University Press, 2011

Max Planck Private Law Research Paper No. 11/15

Posted: 25 Nov 2011 Last revised: 23 Aug 2012

See all articles by Reinhard Zimmermann

Reinhard Zimmermann

Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law

Kenneth Reid

University of Edinburgh - School of Law

Marius J De Waal

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: December 31, 2010

Abstract

This essay is the concluding chapter of a project analysing testamentary formalities in historical and comparative perspective. It provides an assessment of the overall development of the law in the countries surveyed, as well as some wider reflections on the nature and purpose of testamentary formalities. More specifically, the essay focuses on the salient features of holograph wills, witnessed wills, public wills, and special wills; it analyses shared features (such as the requirements of the testator's signature, witnesses, date, unitas actus, incorporation of formal documents, wills by disabled persons); and it discusses the steady shift away from strict formalism which is a significant theme in many legal systems.

Keywords: succession, law of wills, will-making, holograph wills, public wills, emergency wills, witnessed wills, witnesses, signature, form requirements, international will, formalism, flight from formalities

Suggested Citation

Zimmermann, Reinhard and Reid, Kenneth and De Waal, Marius Johannes, Testamentary Formalities in Historical and Comparative Perspective (December 31, 2010). Comparative Succession Law, Vol. 1: Testamentary Formalities, pp. 432-471, Kenneth G.C. Reid, Marius J. de Waal and Reinhard Zimmermann, eds., Oxford University Press, 2011, Max Planck Private Law Research Paper No. 11/15, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1963166

Reinhard Zimmermann (Contact Author)

Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law ( email )

Mittelweg 187
Hamburg, 20148
Germany

Kenneth Reid

University of Edinburgh - School of Law ( email )

Old College
South Bridge
Edinburgh, EH8 9YL
United Kingdom

Marius Johannes De Waal

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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