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Title:Statutorily enacted estate planning forms: Development, explanation, analysis, studies, commentary, and recommendations
Author(s):Beyer, Gerry Wayne
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Scoles, E.
Department / Program:Law
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:Although the advantages of planning for death and disability are great, most people fail to make adequate estate arrangements. Many state legislatures have recognized the ensuing problems and have attempted to rectify them by adopting an innovative technique--statutorily enacted estate planning forms.
The history and development of statutory estate planning forms is reviewed and the two major methodologies for statutory forms are analyzed: statutory provisions that may be incorporated by reference into non-statutory documents and fill-in-the-blank forms.
A variety of statutory estate planning documents are examined: wills (including testamentary trusts), inter vivos trusts, durable powers of attorney (property and health care), guardian self-designations, living wills, self-proving affidavits, and anatomical gifts. The developmental history of each type of document is presented followed by a function-based analysis and recommendations for improvement.
Statutory forms are examined from the perspective of the legal and non-legal communities. A detailed critique of the policies supporting and opposing statutory forms is provided along with results of two studies conducted to obtain data regarding the value of statutory forms. Groups of individuals with varying educational backgrounds completed form wills in the first study. Extensive participant interviews and careful document evaluation revealed widespread approval of statutory forms despite the forms' failure to provide sufficient opportunity for individualization. Inaccurate completion was widespread. The second study was a survey of estate planning practitioners and probate judges in states with statutory will forms. Most respondents disapproved of the forms, believed they needed extensive revision, and thought their impact on the legal profession would be limited.
The thesis concludes with the author's predictions and recommendations. The author anticipates an increase in the number of statutory estate planning forms enacted by state legislatures and used by the public but that much of the use will be improper.
Concluding suggestions are based on two premises. First, that the goals of statutory forms are meritorious and, second, that there are valid arguments against statutory forms. Improved forms need to be developed and then evaluated to determine if the benefits of the technique are worth the inevitable risk of misuse or abuse.
Issue Date:1990
Rights Information:Copyright 1990 Beyer, Gerry Wayne
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9026139
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9026139

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