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Legislation

University of Michigan Law School

Uniform Probate Code

1982

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Reformation Of Wills On The Ground Of Mistake: Change Of Direction In American Law?, John H. Langbein, Lawrence W. Waggoner Jan 1982

Reformation Of Wills On The Ground Of Mistake: Change Of Direction In American Law?, John H. Langbein, Lawrence W. Waggoner

Articles

Although it has been "axiomatic" that our courts do not entertain suits to reform wills on the ground of mistake, appellate courts in California, New Jersey, and New York have decided cases within the last five years that may presage the abandonment of the ancient "no-reformation" rule. The new cases do not purport to make this fundamental doctrinal change, although the California Court of Appeal in Estate of Taff and the New Jersey Supreme Court in Engle v. Siegel did expressly disclaim a related rule, sometimes called the "plain meaning" rule. That rule, which hereafter we will call the "no-extrinsic-evidence ...