State Laws and Oral Wills: A Case Study

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Introduction The basis of law in the United States is English common law. One enduring residual of that early common law is the gradual substitution of an emphasis on distinguishing between oral and written law rather than on sealed and unsealed documents. The question under consideration is whether a client, Ruth, can present a claim to property, which was promised to her orally by Hazel, her now deceased friend. Hazel did not leave a will and died six months after telling Ruth that she would leave $50,000 to Ruth. State laws related to oral wills. An oral will, also known as a nuncupative will, is a spoken will rather than the conventional written document. A majority of states recognize oral wills, but certain restrictions are imposed. In many states, the statutes stipulate that an oral will is to be recognized only when the person is faces an imminent death. A common example of a generally accepted oral will in several states is when a down-range soldier who has been fatally injured speaks his will to other soldiers in the field who act as his witnesses. Further, the witnesses often three are required must put the spoken will down on paper within a specified time (usually 10 days) following the person's death. Moreover, a number of states will only allow oral wills that apply to property under certain dollar limits. The nature of oral wills. One difficulty with oral wills is that they are typically conceived in haste. Many variables can influence the occurrence

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