Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Soulless Wills

  • Daphna Hacker

Abstract

By analyzing wills submitted for execution to Israeli tribunals in the years 2000–2004, this article offers insights into the process of the legalization of death and family relations. The length, aesthetics, phrasing, and contents of the wills examined are all evidence of a process in which the personal wishes of testators are transformed into a standardized legal document that tells very little about the individual testator. The rarity of cases in which testators do use their wills to disclose personal sentiments and thoughts highlights the neglected potential of wills to constitute a unique, personal, and emotional parting statement. The article demonstrates that this potential embodies the different ways in which wills were perceived in ancient times. Inspired by these past and present examples and on the basis of a bifocal relational perception of inheritance, I argue that lawyers should adopt a broader human understanding of wills and offer their clients the option of leaving behind a will with a soul.

Copyright

References

Hide All
Abrahams, Israel. 1926. Hebrew Ethical Wills. Philadelphia, PA: Jewish Publication Society of America.
Ariès, Philippe. 1975. Western Attitudes towards Death: From the Middle Ages to the Present. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Avraham, Yosef Mosheh. 1982. The Ethical Will of Rabbi Joseph Moses Abraham Levinski, the Tsaddik of Lazday. Ed. and trans. Alexander Siskind Kohanski. Passaic, NJ: Asko Press.
Baines, Barry. 2006. Ethical Wills: Putting Your Values on Paper, 2nd ed. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.
Browder, Olin. 1969. Recent Patterns of Testate Succession in the United States and England. Michigan Law Review 67 (1): 1303–60.
Bryant, Clifton, and Snizek, William. 1975. The Last Will and Testament: A Neglected Document in Sociological Research. Sociology & Social Research 53 (3): 219–30.
Campbell, A. 1938. An Old English Will. Journal of English and Germanic Philology 38 (2): 133–52.
Champlin, Edward. 1991. Final Judgment Duty and Emotion in Roman Wills, 200 B.C.‐A.D. 250. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Clowney, Stephen. 2008. In Their Own Hand: An Analysis of Holographic Wills and Homemade Willmaking. Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Journal 43 (1): 2770.
Cooper Ramo, Roberta. 1996. Musings of a Family Lawyer. Probate Lawyer 22:118.
Corinaldi, Michael. 2008. The Law of Succession. Jerusalem: Bar Association.
Cox, Jane. 1993. Hatred Pursued beyond the Grave: Tales of Our Ancestors from the London Church Courts. London: HMSO.
Danet, Brenda, and Bogoch, Bryna. 1994. From Oral Law to Literate Law: Orality, Literacy and Formulaicity in Anglo‐Saxon Wills. Legal Semiotics and Sociology of Law, Onati Proceedings 16:227–92.
Finch, Janet, Hayes, Lynn, Mason, Jennifer, Masson, Judith, and Wallis, Lorraine. 1996. Wills, Inheritance, and Families. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Frank, Judith. 2003. The Human Legacy: Using Ethical Wills to Enhance Estate Planning. T. M. Cooley Journal of Practice & Clinical Law 6:6581.
Friedman, Lawrence. 1966. The Law of the Living, the Law of the Dead: Property, Succession, and Society. Wisconsin Law Review 1966:340–78.
Friedman, Lawrence, Walker, Christopher, and Hernandez‐Stern, Ben. 2007. The Inheritance Process in San Bernardino County, California, 1964: A Research Note. Houston Law Review 43:1445–73.
Frier, Bruce, and McGinn, Thomas. 2004. A Casebook on Roman Family Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Hacker, Daphna. 2010. The Gendered Dimensions of Inheritance: Empirical Food for Legal Thought. Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 7 (2): 322–54.
Hicks, Zoe. 2008. Is Your (Ethical) Will in Order? American College of Trust and Estate Counsel Journal 33 (3): 154–68.
Kreiczer‐Levy, Shelly. 2008. The Intergenerational Bond—Rethinking Inheritance. PhD diss, Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University.
Legalzoom. n.d. Legalzoom Wills. http://www.legalzoom.com/legal‐wills/wills‐overview.html (accessed April 7, 2010).
Maimon, Nili. n.d. Non‐material Orders in a Will. Unpublished manuscript, in author's possession.
Maroney, Terry. 2006. Law and Emotion: A Proposed Taxonomy of an Emerging Field. Law and Human Behavior 30 (2): 119–42.
Masson, Judith. 1994. Making Wills, Making Clients (Part 2). Conveyancer and Property Lawyer, September‐October:360–69.
Nolo. n.d. Nolo's Online Will. http://www.nolo.com/products/‐NNWILL.html (accessed April 7, 2010).
Rabbinical, Courts. n.d. Statistics of the Rabbinical Courts. http://www.rbc.gov.il/statistics/index.asp (accessed April 7, 2010).
Radford, Mary. 2000. The Inheritance Rights of Women under Jewish and Islamic Law. Boston College International & Comparative Law Review 23 (2): 135–84.
Reiner, Jack, and Stampfer, Nathaniel. 1983. Ethical Wills: A Modern Jewish Treasury. New York: Schocken Books.
Rivlin, Josef. 1999. Hayerusha Vehachavaa Bamishpat Ha'ivri [Inheritance and Wills in Jewish Law] . Ramat Gan: Bar‐Ilan University Press.
Rosenfeld, Jeffery. 1979. The Legacy of Aging: Inheritance and Disinheritance in Social Perspective. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Schoenblum, Jeffery. 1987. Will Contents: An Empirical Study. Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Journal 22 (4): 607–60.
Schwartz, T. P. 1993. Testamentary Behavior: Issues and Evidence about Individuality, Altruism and Social Influences. Sociology Quarterly 34 (2): 337–55.
Shaffer, Thomas. 1970. Death, Property and Lawyers. New York: Dunellen.
Shaffer, Thomas. 1982. The Lawyer as Will Maker. Marriage & Family Review 5 (3): 87103.
Sheehan, Michael. 1963. The Will in the Medieval England. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies.
Shilo, Shmuel. 1992. Perush Le'Hoch Hayerusha (Seifim 1–55) [Comments on the Succession Law, 1965 (Sec. 1–55)] . Jerusalem: Nevo.
Shohat, Shaul, Goldberg, Menachem, and Flomin, Yehezkel. 2005. Dinei Yerusha Ve'izavon [The Law of Succession] . Tel Aviv: Sadan.
Sussman, Marvin, Cates, Judith, and Smith, David. 1970. The Family and Inheritance. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Waggoner, Lawrence, Alexander, Gregory, and Fellows, Mary. 1997. Family Property Law Cases and Materials on Wills, Trusts, and Future Interests, 2nd ed. Westbury, NY: Foundation Press.
Whitelock, Dorothy, ed. 1986 1930. Anglo‐Saxon Wills. Holmes Beach, FL: Wm. W. Gaunt & Sons.
Wozner, Michael. 2000. Ad Me'a Ve'eshrim: Erka Le'aricha Achmit Shel Chava'a Vehochaat Chav Yerusha Vechav Kium Chava'a [Until One Hundred and Twenty: A Will and Probate Do‐It‐Yourself Kit] . Tel Aviv: Perlstein‐Genosar.
Zoolo. n.d. Doogmanut Heskemin Mishpatiem [Examples of Legal Agreements] . http://www.zooloo.co.il/biz/contracts/zCon_Family_wills.asp (accessed May 26, 2010).
CA 7735/02 Estate of Nissim Elbaz v. Paz[2004] IsrSC 58(3) 161–68.
Anatomy and Pathology Act, 1953, SH 134, 162.
Anatomy and Pathology Regulations, 1965, KT 417, 334.
Inheritance Regulations, 1998, KT 5923, 1256.
Right to Alternative Civil Burial Act, 1996, SH 1584, 249.
Succession Law, 1965, SH 63, 249.

Soulless Wills

  • Daphna Hacker

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed