The Common Law Treatment of Lost Wills

Estates, Trusts and Pensions Journal, Vol. 35, No. 2

22 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2017 Last revised: 8 Nov 2017

See all articles by Peter S. Spiro

Peter S. Spiro

University of Toronto - Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation, School of Public Policy and Governance

Date Written: February 1, 2016

Abstract

The legal principles affecting lost wills are quite simple, but in practice they often raise difficult evidentiary issues. Judges need to infer something as elusive as the intentions of the deceased when a will disappears. The type of weighing of evidence that is involved is quite subjective, and different judges will read it differently. Some of the decisions appear quite surprising, if not perverse. Clients in lost will disputes may be well advised to seek mediation rather than go to trial. Governments should help mitigate the problem by encouraging people to participate in centralized wills registries.

Keywords: estate law, lost will, estate litigation

JEL Classification: K36, K41

Suggested Citation

Spiro, Peter, The Common Law Treatment of Lost Wills (February 1, 2016). Estates, Trusts and Pensions Journal, Vol. 35, No. 2. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3060494

Peter Spiro (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation, School of Public Policy and Governance ( email )

720 Spadina Avenue, Suite 218
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2T9
Canada

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