Surveying the Not Yet Dead: Comment on Hirsch’s Empirical Analysis of Revival of Wills

Jonathan Klick - University of Pennsylvania Law School and Erasmus University Rotterdam
Vol. 53
June 2020
Page 2647

Hirsch advocates using an empirically grounded presumption when handling the revival of wills problem. The empirical baseline, according to him, should match what most people think (rightly or wrongly) a court would do when the revival problem arises. Hirsch then presents survey evidence on people’s expectations in this setting. Hirsch’s proposal is completely sensible in principle, and there is no reason it should be restricted to the revival problem. The argument applies throughout the field of wills, trusts, and estates and maybe even the law more generally. In practice, however, defining the relevant population to survey could pose a problem.

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