Relaxed formalism: The validation of flawed wills

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This Article analyzes the probative standard set by Section 25 of the Succession Law, which, provided that certain basic conditions are met, enables the validation of flawed wills. The Article presents the position taken by the Supreme Court, according to which Section 25 requires that prior to its validation, the authenticity of a will be proven beyond any doubt. This standard is criticized as impracticable and normatively flawed, as is another standard, suggested by some Supreme Court Justices, which would impose on those wishing to validate a flawed will a standard of proof similar to that required in criminal law. The Article then attempts to create a desirable model for the probative standard found in Section 25. This model is based on disutility equations for decision-making under conditions of uncertainty; it leads to the conclusion that the standard that should be required in order that flawed wills be validated is considerably lower than that demanded by today s case law. The Article claims that there is no significant risk that testators might be led to disregard or neglect the formal requirements set by the Succession Law for writing wills. In conclusion, some arguments are presented in support of a revolutionary hypothesis: I suggest that the Supreme Court's interpretation of Section 25 reflects an ideology that prefers the mode of asset distribution prescribed by inheritance law over alternative modes, created by individual wills. The Court's preference, however, is not grounded (and cannot reasonably be grounded) in the desire to fulfill the testator's wishes; but rather perhaps it is an expression of the legal system's conception of distributive justice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-155
Number of pages37
JournalIsrael Law Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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