Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Gerry W. Beyer (Governor Preston E. Smith Regents Professor of Law, Texas Tech University School of Law) has recently published his article entitled Video-Recording the Will Execution Ceremony, Estate Planning Studies (April 2010).
Here is the abstract of the article which is available on SSRN:
From Star Trek’s Captain Kirk leaving a video to be watched upon his death in his attempt to get Spock and McCoy to work together in an emergency situation to Rodrigo Rosenberg making an 18-minute video to be viewed upon his disappearance in May 2009, which allegedly named his murderer, people have wanted to “speak from the great beyond” to their family and friends.
One of the ways modern video-recording technology can help ensure that a client’s wishes regarding at-death distribution of property are carried out is by preserving evidence of the will execution ceremony and its important components, such as the condition and appearance of the testator and the presence of witnesses, along with an accurate reproduction of the exact document that was signed. Although video-recording the will execution ceremony is not common practice, the potential of this technique must not be overlooked.
This Study begins by detailing the possible uses of a video-recording of the will execution ceremony and the status of the law regarding the video’s admissibility into evidence. The advantages and disadvantages of preparing such a recording are examined, followed by a discussion of the recorded ceremony itself, which includes the major elements needed to fully utilize the advantages of this innovative technique.