Bridget J. Crawford, Kelly Purser and Tina Cockburn: Post-Pandemic Wills (October 8, 2020)

Bridget J. Crawford of Pace University School of Law, and Kelly Purser and Tina Cockburn of Queensland University of Technology – Faculty of Law have made available for download their article, “Post-Pandemic Wills,” published in the University of Chicago Legal Forum, Forthcoming. The abstract is as followed:

This Essay suggests the importance of an empirical study into whether and how access to will-making increased during the pandemic. Were the people who availed themselves of new technologies for will execution during the pandemic those who would have made a will anyway? Was will-making behavior encouraged by the relaxing of traditional legal requirements for executing a will, or were testators driven by the practical (and real) fear of possible death during the pandemic? To what extent did the remote witnessing rules adequately provide for satisfactory testamentary capacity assessments (where necessary), and safeguard against undue influence and fraud, particularly in the case of vulnerable older persons and those who are socially isolated? Are wills executed during the pandemic under relaxed witnessing rules more likely than traditionally-executed wills to be subject to probate contests? The emergency measures adopted during the pandemic for will executions should not automatically become the new normal. Framing the discussion in both Australian and U.S. perspectives highlights important questions about the purposes that traditional wills formalities are designed to serve and the continued need for formal safeguards that will increase the likelihood that an individual’s wishes will be respected after death.

To see the full article, click: “Post-Pandemic Wills” by Bridget J. Crawford, Kelly Purser and Tina Cockburn.

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