Statutory Fill-In Will Forms—The First Decade: Theoretical Constructs and Empirical Findings
Beyer, Gerry W.
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The majority of Americans fail to execute a simple will, much less prepare a comprehensive estate plan in the event of lifetime incompetency or death. First, this article analyzes the potential ramifications of statutory will forms to the legal profession and their ostensible benefits and disadvantages. This is followed by the results of a study whose purpose was to determine the non-attorney’s ability to fill in and use the will forms and the legal profession’s view of the uses of the forms. Finally, predictions are given about the future of statutory wills and include the increase in the number of statutory will forms enacted, an increased use of statutory will forms by the non-legal community, the widespread improper use of statutory forms accompanied by unfavorable results, a change in the composition of statutory forms, and a movement towards developing state bar forms.