Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Sex and Precatory Language

Assistant Professor Alyssa A. DiRusso of the Cumberland School of Law has recently authored an article entitled He Says, She Requests: Gender Differences in the Use of Precatory Language in Wills and Trusts.

Here is the abstract of her article as posted on SSRN:

Women and men talk differently. Psychological studies have shown that men and women choose different language to convey meaning: men tend to be more direct and forthright, while women tend to be more subtle and diplomatic. An area in which these gender differences is largely unrealized is in estate planning documents. In wills and trusts, testators and donors may choose to use "precatory language" - words of suggestion or hope that express the wishes of the donor, but are not legally binding. This article explores the impact that precatory language has in an estate plan, why women may be more likely to use precatory language than men, and what implications this has for estate planning attorneys who advise men and women with varying approaches for expressing themselves.


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