Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Article on Dependent Relative Revocation


Richard F. Storrow (University Of New York School of Law, Professor of Law) recently published an article entitled, Dependent Relative Revocation: Presumption or Probability?  Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Vol. 48, No. 3 (Winter 2014).  Provided below is the author’s synopsis:

A primary goal of the law of wills is to carry out the testator’s intent.  However, when a testator dies leaving a succession of wills or having expressed to an attorney his or her plan to execute a new will, ascertaining the testator’s intent can be difficult.  The problem is especially challenging when a court attempts to rationalize the testator’s intent with the principle of law that disallows correcting wills.  This Article explores how courts have used the doctrine of dependent relative revocation to determine which testamentary scheme should be admitted to be probate.  The application of this doctrine has unfortunately become untidy and unpredictable, due in part to the failure of courts to position their use of dependent relative revocation within the traditional framework of will interpretation.  This Article explains the advantages of adopting a two-step interpretive process for applying the doctrine.


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