Au Revoir, Will Contests: Comparative Lessons for Preventing Will Contests
25 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2013 Last revised: 4 Jan 2016
Date Written: March 8, 2013
American probate law has not yet managed to prevent will contests and not every will executed will be ultimately upheld. The most common grounds for will contests are undue influence, testamentary capacity, and fraud. These will contests have significant costs, which include failing to give effect to testator’s intent and high litigation and decision costs. In fact, the most significant challenge that exists in American probate law today is the frequent inability to honor testamentary intent due to will contests brought by disgruntled relatives. On the other hand, a legal system that has nearly eliminated will contests on the grounds of undue influence and fraud is in France. This Article seeks to extract lessons from the French probate system to minimize will contests in the United States.
Keywords: Comparative Law, Wills, Trusts & Estates, Estates, Probate, Will Contests, Undue Influence, Fraud, Execution Formalities, Testamentary Capacity, Notaire, French Civil Code
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