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
Date Written: February 1, 2016
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: Suggested Citation