Wills Law Essay

2424 words 10 pages
Wills Problem: The Estate of Jackie Kennedy Onassis

1. The overall testamentary plan seems to be that Jackie Kennedy Onassis’ (testator) estate was allocated proportionately to those people she deemed to be the closest to her. Thus, the further away from Jackie via bloodline, the less the person inherited and the less personal the gifts seemed to be. The majority of her real and personal property was left to her children, while friends and other relatives received legacy gifts. Some of the gifts to her friends were very specific (as in question 3), so it is likely that there was some sort of sentimental value between Jackie, the devisee, and the property in question. Whole-blooded relatives received a larger portion than her
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Ademption by extinction refers to the failure of a specific gift because the property is no longer in the testator’s estate at his/her death. A specific gift is identified in the will in sufficient detail so it is clear which exact asset from the testator’s estate the beneficiary is entitled to receive. The testator wanted the devisee to have the specific piece of property, not the value of the property. Under the Stage 2(a) rule, this would mean that Tempelsman would receive absolutely nothing. Courts try to avoid ademption by classifying gifts as general instead of specific so the devisee can at least receive that value of the property, but this does not always work. Also, a devisee can receive the value of the property if the testator previously disposed of the property. The majority of courts use the Stage 2(b) “identity rule” today. This rule ignores the testator’s intent and focuses on whether the change in property was “formal” or “substantial.” Courts have held that changes in the “form” of the property do not change the identity of the property if they are not “substantial” changes. Ademption will not occur under either Stage 2(a) or Stage 2(b) rules if the will clearly rejects ademption. The UPC Stage 3 rule adopts the “intent theory” to try and avoid ademption completely. Under this rule, the devisee gets the specific value of property where it appears unlikely that the


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