Testation and the Mind

84 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2017 Last revised: 22 May 2017

Date Written: March 13, 2017


This Article explores the panoply of state-of-mind rules in inheritance law. In areas of law concerned with wrongdoing, consideration of mental states achieves specific deterrence and moral justice. By comparison, in the inheritance realm, I argue that consideration of mental states can serve to economize on decision costs. The Article looks at state-of-mind rules through this prism and also analyzes the public policy of these rules from the perspective of modern research into psychology. Finally, the Article examines state-of-mind rules comparatively, identifying inconsistencies between them that require justification. The Article closes by observing potential expansions of the model and applications in other areas of law.

Keywords: inheritance, wills, testation, testamentary capacity, sound mind, mistake, insane delusion, undue influence, fraud, ratification, testamentary intent

JEL Classification: K11, K19

Suggested Citation

Hirsch, Adam Jay, Testation and the Mind (March 13, 2017). Washington and Lee Law Review, Vol. 74, No. 1, 2017, San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 17-269, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2932536

Adam Jay Hirsch (Contact Author)

University of San Diego ( email )

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110
United States

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