Property owners in modern common-law jurisdictions have a wide variety of legal instruments at their disposal to effect the inter-generational transfer of wealth. Indeed the object of much reform in the area of estate transmission in the course of this century has been to reduce the formality required to execute the comprehensive succession arrangements which anthropologists and historians have termed “strategies.” Yet the process of relaxation of formality has not produced a law devoid of requirement, because societal interest is thought at times to conflict with unimpinged informality of transfer. For example, legislatures and courts believe that some formality protects the property owner (who at the time his act has legal effect may be dead) from those who seek to influence or subvert the succession process. Moreover, because nearly all members of society partake of the process, the administrative burden on the judicial system is lessened when law provides a clear set of hurdles for a disposition to surmount in order to be valid. Likewise, the more detailed and tailored to these aims the requirements for validity are constructed, the less likely disputes regarding dispositions will arise. Thus, in modern law, the virtue of simplification is balanced with protective concerns, creating a law of wills and trusts on the one hand sufficiently complex both to embarrass practitioners and confound students, but leaving individuals relatively free to craft estate plans consistent with their own desires.