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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Slayer Rule: An Empirical Examination, Fredrick E. Vars Mar 2023

The Slayer Rule: An Empirical Examination, Fredrick E. Vars

ACTEC Law Journal

This study is the first to empirically test key assumptions underlying the slayer rule. Over a thousand survey respondents answered the question “What’s fair?” or “What would the decedent want?” in twelve different scenarios. Some of the most significant conclusions are that the slayer rule should not apply to assisted suicide, killings in self-defense, or killings due to mental illness. On the other hand, the slayer rule should be expanded beyond murder in some circumstances, such as elder abuse and neglect. And the slayer rule should be converted from a mandatory rule into a default rule, which testators could opt …


Intellectual Heirs Property: Why Certain Musical Copyrights Should Be Included In The Heirs Property Reform Movement, Austin Weatherly May 2022

Intellectual Heirs Property: Why Certain Musical Copyrights Should Be Included In The Heirs Property Reform Movement, Austin Weatherly

Journal of Intellectual Property Law

The modern heirs property reform movement seeks to ameliorate the issues caused by the procedures governing the inheritance of real property from landowners who die intestate. This procedure can have a negative impact on heirs and the value of their inherited property. The reform movement, as it stands, only seeks to resolve the issues created by these procedures in the real property context. The rhetorical basis for the modern heirs property reform movement largely focuses on closing the racial wealth gap in the United States and slowing the wealth bleed from one black generation to the next. Many of the …


Inheritance Crimes, David Horton, Reid Kress Weisbord Jun 2021

Inheritance Crimes, David Horton, Reid Kress Weisbord

Washington Law Review

The civil justice system has long struggled to resolve disputes over end-of-life transfers. The two most common grounds for challenging the validity of a gift, will, or trust— mental incapacity and undue influence—are vague, hinge on the state of mind of a dead person, and allow factfinders to substitute their own norms and preferences for the donor’s intent. In addition, the slayer doctrine—which prohibits killers from inheriting from their victims—has generated decades of constitutional challenges.

But recently, these controversial rules have migrated into an area where the stakes are significantly higher: the criminal justice system. For example, states have criminalized …


What Probate Courts Cite: Lessons From The New York County Surrogate’S Court 2017-2018, Bridget J. Crawford Jun 2020

What Probate Courts Cite: Lessons From The New York County Surrogate’S Court 2017-2018, Bridget J. Crawford

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

By knowing what a judge cites, one may better understand what the judge believes is important, how the judge understands her work will be used, and how the judge conceives of the judicial role. Empirical scholars have devoted serious attention to the citation practices and patterns of the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Courts of Appeals, and multiple state supreme courts. Remarkably little is known about what probate courts cite. This Article makes three principal claims — one empirical, one interpretative, and one normative. This Article demonstrates through data, derived from a study of all decrees …


Afterlife Of The Death Tax, Samuel D. Brunson Apr 2019

Afterlife Of The Death Tax, Samuel D. Brunson

Indiana Law Journal

More than a century ago, Congress enacted the modern estate tax to help pay for World War I. Unlike previous iterations of the estate tax, though, this one outlived the war and accumulated additional goals beyond merely raising revenue. The estate tax helped ensure the progressivity of the tax system as a whole, and it limited the hereditary ability to accumulate wealth.

This modern estate tax almost instantly met with opposition, though. The opposition has never been sufficient to entirely eliminate the estate tax, but it has severely weakened its ability to raise revenue and to prevent the accumulation of …


A Social Welfare Theory Of Inheritance Regulation, Mark Glover May 2018

A Social Welfare Theory Of Inheritance Regulation, Mark Glover

Utah Law Review

The law of succession grants donors broad freedom to decide how to distribute their property upon death. It does so in hopes of increasing social welfare in two general ways. First, freedom of disposition generates socially beneficial estate planning decisions. In particular, donors are in the best position to evaluate their own specific circumstances and to make decisions that, on the whole, produce the greatest utility from the transfer of their estates. Second, the donor’s autonomy over estate planning decisions incentivizes socially beneficial behavior, such as productivity during the life of the donor. Because the law views freedom of disposition …


Raising The Dead: An Examination Of In Re Kingsbury And Maine's Law Regarding Intestate Succession And Posthumous Paternity Testing, Dylan R. Boyd Oct 2017

Raising The Dead: An Examination Of In Re Kingsbury And Maine's Law Regarding Intestate Succession And Posthumous Paternity Testing, Dylan R. Boyd

Maine Law Review

In 2001, Ben Erskine, a man who claimed to be the son of renowned guru Paramahansa Yogananda, planned to ask a Los Angeles judge to order that the guru's body be exhumed for DNA testing to determine Erskine's paternity. Erskine's allegations threatened both Yogananda's reputation and the fortune of his estate, which belonged to his organization the Self Realization Fellowship. In 2002, seven years after the allegations arose, conclusive tests comparing Erskine's DNA and that of Yogananda's surviving male relatives in India resolved the controversy and vindicated the guru, thus putting to rest the looming possibility of exhuming his body …


Freedom Of Inheritance, Mark Glover Apr 2017

Freedom Of Inheritance, Mark Glover

Utah Law Review

The law grants individuals the broad freedom of disposition to decide how their property should be distributed upon death. The rationale underlying freedom of disposition is that the choices of individual donors produce results that maximize social welfare. Policymakers are rightfully skeptical that they can craft a mandatory estate plan that fits all situations or that probate courts can consistently and accurately assess the merits of particular dispositions of property. By contrast, the donor is in the best position to evaluate her own specific circumstances and to place property in the hands of the donees who will benefit the most. …


Moving Forward By Looking Back: The Retroactive Application Of Obergefell, Lee-Ford Tritt Dec 2016

Moving Forward By Looking Back: The Retroactive Application Of Obergefell, Lee-Ford Tritt

UF Law Faculty Publications

The recent Supreme Court decision of Obergefell v. Hodges has forever altered American jurisprudence. Not only did this decision make same-sex marriage legal in all fifty states, but it also required states to recognize same-sex marriages from other states in accordance with the 14th Amendment. The Court’s holding in Obergefell raises a fundamental question with serious legal and financial significance: when exactly do these once unrecognized marriages legally begin? And to what extent must courts apply Obergefell retroactively? The stakes are high and substantive financial effects are pending on the answer to this question — for, with marriage, comes wide-ranging …


Planned Parenthood: Adult Adoption And The Right Of Adoptees To Inherit, Richard C. Ausness Jan 2016

Planned Parenthood: Adult Adoption And The Right Of Adoptees To Inherit, Richard C. Ausness

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

This Article is concerned with the effect of adult adoptions on the inheritance rights (in the broad sense of that term) of adult adoptees. The Article contends many adult adoption statutes assume the existence of a parent-child relationship in which the adopter is the “parent” and the adoptee is a “child” even though this is not true of all adult adoption cases. In addition, legislatures and courts frequently fail to differentiate between “quasi-familial” adoptions and “strategic” adoptions, particularly where inheritance rights are concerned.


Irwin V. Gavit: Income Is (Sometimes) In The Eye Of The Beholder, William P. Lapiana Jan 2016

Irwin V. Gavit: Income Is (Sometimes) In The Eye Of The Beholder, William P. Lapiana

Articles & Chapters

No abstract provided.


Recent Development: Sieglein V. Schmidt: Pursuant To § 1-206(B) Of The Estates And Trusts Article, Artificial Insemination Encompasses In Vitro Fertilization Using Donated Sperm; A Court May Use The Goldberger Factors To Determine Voluntary Impoverishment; A Trial Court Can Issue A Permanent Injunction For Harassment Based On § 1-203(A) Of The Family Law Article., Virginia J. Yeoman Jan 2016

Recent Development: Sieglein V. Schmidt: Pursuant To § 1-206(B) Of The Estates And Trusts Article, Artificial Insemination Encompasses In Vitro Fertilization Using Donated Sperm; A Court May Use The Goldberger Factors To Determine Voluntary Impoverishment; A Trial Court Can Issue A Permanent Injunction For Harassment Based On § 1-203(A) Of The Family Law Article., Virginia J. Yeoman

University of Baltimore Law Forum

The Court of Appeals of Maryland held that the term “artificial insemination” includes in vitro fertilization using donated sperm, and that a consenting husband is presumed to be the father of the child born as a result of the procedure. Sieglein v. Schmidt, 447 Md. 647, 652, 136 A.3d 751, 754 (2016). The court also held that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in finding the husband to be voluntarily impoverished or in issuing a permanent injunction based on harassment. Id.


Trial And Heirs: Antemortem Probate For The Changing American Family, Katherine M. Arango Jan 2016

Trial And Heirs: Antemortem Probate For The Changing American Family, Katherine M. Arango

Brooklyn Law Review

The notion of the traditional American family has changed due to complex family structures formed through remarriages, cohabitation, and same-sex couples. Freedom of disposition is a guiding principle of inheritance law, whereby society recognizes the value in protecting one’s ability to acquire and transfer personal property at death. However, intestacy statutes are antiquated and have failed to keep pace with the rise of the modern American family, thus leaving the right to freedom of disposition uncertain and vulnerable for a large population. A will is a way of opting out of intestacy, but given that a will is frequently the …


Probating Prince’S Estate: Who Will End Up With The Singer’S Substantial Intellectual Property?, J. Gordon Hylton Jan 2016

Probating Prince’S Estate: Who Will End Up With The Singer’S Substantial Intellectual Property?, J. Gordon Hylton

Cybaris®

No abstract provided.


Mor[T]Ality And Identity: Wills, Narratives, And Cherished Possessions, Deborah S. Gordon Dec 2015

Mor[T]Ality And Identity: Wills, Narratives, And Cherished Possessions, Deborah S. Gordon

Deborah S Gordon

Franz Kafka is credited with observing that “the meaning of life is that it stops.” This recognition—that life’s one certainty is certain death—has been the source of great artistic, scientific, political, and personal inspiration. How we have lived over the course of our days—our individual and collective histories—and how we will be remembered by those who survive us—our legacies—are bridged not only by our achievements and relationships but also by cherished items of property that we have accumulated and decided to pass on. This type of possession often has a narrative that endows it with meaning. By incorporating a personal …


Planned Parenthood: Adult Adoption And The Right Of Adoptees To Inherit, Richard C. Ausness Sep 2015

Planned Parenthood: Adult Adoption And The Right Of Adoptees To Inherit, Richard C. Ausness

ACTEC Law Journal

This Article is concerned with the effect of adult adoptions on the inheritance rights (in the broad sense of that term) of adult adoptees. The Article contends many adult adoption statutes assume the existence of a parent-child relationship in which the adopter is the "parent" and the adoptee is a "child" even though this is not true of all adult adoption cases. In addition, legislatures and courts frequently fail to differentiate between "quasi-familial" adoptions and "strategic" adoptions, particularly where inheritance rights are concerned.


Correcting The Record Regarding Therestatement Of Property’S Slayer Rulein The Brooklyn Law Review’Ssymposium Issue On Restatements, Lawrence W. Waggoner, John H. Langbein Jan 2015

Correcting The Record Regarding Therestatement Of Property’S Slayer Rulein The Brooklyn Law Review’Ssymposium Issue On Restatements, Lawrence W. Waggoner, John H. Langbein

Articles

In 2014, the Brooklyn Law Review published a symposium issue on Restatements of the Law. The organizer of the symposium, Professor Anita Bernstein, did not afford an opportunity for Restatement reporters to comment on the articles. The organizer did invite the Director of the American Law Institute, Lance Liebman, to contribute an essay commenting on the symposium as a whole. Liebman’s essay—unintentionally no doubt—misstated the position that we took in formulating the slayer rule for the Restatement (Third) of Property: Wills and Other Donative Transfers. Liebman’s misstatement—that we recommended that the Institute adopt a rule allowing a murderer to inherit …


Trusting Trust, Deborah Gordon Dec 2014

Trusting Trust, Deborah Gordon

Deborah S Gordon

What is a trustee and how should we understand her duties? The existing literature typically identifies the trustee in the role of agent, partner or contracting party. This Article re-envisions the trustee in the role of the legal system’s most trusted type of decision-maker: the common law judge. Rather than argue for a top-down recreation of the trustee’s role, this Article contends that valuable lessons can be learned by reconceptualizing how trustees, settlors, and beneficiaries view themselves and each other. Using traditional literature about great judging as a touchstone, the Article argues that those qualities essential to principled adjudication — …


A Comparative Guide Of Where To Die: Should The United Kingdom Repeal Its Inheritance Tax?, William T. Thistle Sep 2014

A Comparative Guide Of Where To Die: Should The United Kingdom Repeal Its Inheritance Tax?, William T. Thistle

Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law

No abstract provided.


Restricting Testamentary Freedom: Ex Ante Versus Ex Post Justifications, Daniel B. Kelly Jul 2014

Restricting Testamentary Freedom: Ex Ante Versus Ex Post Justifications, Daniel B. Kelly

Daniel B Kelly

The organizing principle of American succession law — testamentary freedom — gives decedents a nearly unrestricted right to dispose of property. After surveying the justifications for testamentary freedom, I examine the circumstances in which it may be socially beneficial for courts to alter wills, trusts, and other gratuitous transfers at death: imperfect information, negative externalities, and intergenerational equity. These justifications correspond with many existing limitations on the freedom of testation. Yet, disregarding donor intent to maximize the donees’ ex post interests, an increasingly common justification for intervention, is socially undesirable. Doing so ignores important ex ante considerations, including a donor’s …


Protecting Freedom Of Testation: A Proposal For Law Reform, Eike G. Hosemann Jan 2014

Protecting Freedom Of Testation: A Proposal For Law Reform, Eike G. Hosemann

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Article addresses a problem ever more pressing in wealthy and aging societies like the United States: interference with freedom of testation by the use of wrongful means such as undue influence or will forgery to acquire benefits through inheritance. A detailed analysis of the remedies against interference with freedom of testation under inheritance law, tort law, and equity reveals that there is currently a significant under-deterrence of this undesirable behavior. Hence, this Article proposes a new remedy in order to protect freedom of testation more effectively: a disinheritance statute barring wrongdoers that have infringed upon someone’s freedom of testation …


Letters Non-Testamentary, Deborah Gordon Dec 2013

Letters Non-Testamentary, Deborah Gordon

Deborah S Gordon

Letters written in anticipation of death, so-called “last letters,” appear frequently in American case law, especially when inheritance is at issue. One common appearance is when such letters are offered to serve as wills for decedents who leave no other written indication of testamentary intent. Even where a properly attested will exists, though, many courts have construed letters as codicils – addenda – to the more traditional instruments, though such letters sometimes contradict or substantially alter the original wills. Courts also use letters as tools for interpreting ambiguous documents and as mechanisms for determining whether a formal property arrangement, a …


Trimble V. Gordon: An Unstated Reversal Of Labine V. Vincent?, John A. Boyd May 2013

Trimble V. Gordon: An Unstated Reversal Of Labine V. Vincent?, John A. Boyd

Pepperdine Law Review

No abstract provided.


Sharia-Compliant Wills: Principles, Recognition, And Enforcement, Omar T. Mohammedi Jan 2013

Sharia-Compliant Wills: Principles, Recognition, And Enforcement, Omar T. Mohammedi

NYLS Law Review

No abstract provided.


Restricting Testamentary Freedom: Ex Ante Versus Ex Post Justifications, Daniel B. Kelly Jan 2013

Restricting Testamentary Freedom: Ex Ante Versus Ex Post Justifications, Daniel B. Kelly

Journal Articles

The organizing principle of American succession law — testamentary freedom — gives decedents a nearly unrestricted right to dispose of property. After surveying the justifications for testamentary freedom, I examine the circumstances in which it may be socially beneficial for courts to alter wills, trusts, and other gratuitous transfers at death: imperfect information, negative externalities, and intergenerational equity. These justifications correspond with many existing limitations on the freedom of testation. Yet, disregarding donor intent to maximize the donees’ ex post interests, an increasingly common justification for intervention, is socially undesirable. Doing so ignores important ex ante considerations, including a donor’s …


Death, Taxes, And Property (Rights): Nozick, Libertarianism, And The Estate Tax, Jennifer Bird-Pollan Jan 2013

Death, Taxes, And Property (Rights): Nozick, Libertarianism, And The Estate Tax, Jennifer Bird-Pollan

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

The primary purpose of this Article is to dispute the moral claims to post-death property rights made by libertarians when they argue against the estate tax. As I will show later in this Article, my argument does not necessarily entail enacting an estate tax, nor does it require a particular level of tax. I am merely trying to demonstrate that those who argue that the estate tax is an immoral violation of the private property rights of the deceased are mistaken. This is not to say that the estate of the deceased should necessarily pass to the government. It is …


The Case For The Retention Of The State Death Tax Credit In The Federal Transfer Tax Scheme: "Just Say No" To A Deduction, John M. Janiga, Louis S. Harrison Nov 2012

The Case For The Retention Of The State Death Tax Credit In The Federal Transfer Tax Scheme: "Just Say No" To A Deduction, John M. Janiga, Louis S. Harrison

Pepperdine Law Review

No abstract provided.


Toward Equality: Nonmarital Children And The Uniform Probate Code, Paula A. Monopoli Sep 2012

Toward Equality: Nonmarital Children And The Uniform Probate Code, Paula A. Monopoli

Paula A Monopoli

This Article traces the evolution of the Uniform Probate Code's (UPC) broad equality framework for inheritance by nonmarital children in the context of the wider movement for legal equality for such children in society. It concludes that the UPC is to be lauded for its efforts to provide equal treatment to all nonmarital children. The UPC'c commitment to such equality serves an expressive function for state legilatures and courts to follow its lead. The UPC has fulfilled its promise that all children regardless of marital status shall be equal for purposes of inheritance from or through parents, with one exception: …


The Specter Of Civil Law Clawback Actions Haunting U.S. And Uk Charitable Giving, Aaron Schwabach Jun 2012

The Specter Of Civil Law Clawback Actions Haunting U.S. And Uk Charitable Giving, Aaron Schwabach

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


The Probate Definition Of Family: A Proposal For Guided Discretion In Intestacy, Susan N. Gary Jun 2012

The Probate Definition Of Family: A Proposal For Guided Discretion In Intestacy, Susan N. Gary

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Intestacy statutes may not match the wishes of many people who die intestate. Changes to the Uniform Probate Code (UPC) include or exclude potential takers, as the drafters attempt to bring the UPC provisions closer to the intent of more intestate decedents. As the UPC tries to fine-tune the intestacy statutes, however, family circumstances continue to get more and more complicated. Families headed by unmarried couples, blended families with children from multiple marriages, and families in which adults raise children who are not legally theirs, have become commonplace. For some decedents, non-family friends and caregivers may be more important than …