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Research Guide on Wills: With Special Emphasis on New York: Legal Encyclopedias

This Research guide will discuss the laws of wills and decedent's estates in New York and also contain a general discussion on the laws of wills and the Uniform Probate Code.

Legal Encyclopedias

American Jurisprudence Second Edition: A Modern Comprehensive Text  Statement of American Law State and Federal: Thomson West, 2002.

REF KF154 .A42. The law of wills begins in Volume 79 and continues in Volume 80. This article discusses the nature, character, and validity of wills; the requisites of execution, attestation, and publication thereof; the capacity to make a will and to take there under; the effect of undue influence, fraud and mistake thereon; property which may be devised or bequeathed; agreements to make a will; wills of special type, such as holographic wills, nuncupative wills, and joint or mutual wills; codicils; the construction of wills; and the probate, record, contest, alteration, revocation, revival and republication of wills. The researcher might also want to look under the terms “Executors and Administrators” and “Descent and Distribution.” For tax matters the researcher should look under “Federal Taxation” and “Inheritance, Estate, and Gift Taxes.”

Volume 76 contains the subject of “Trusts” and discusses express trusts, spendthrift trusts, trusts by operation of law, resulting and constructive trusts, trustees and beneficiaries, trust property, the administration of trusts, and the duties, liabilities and compensation of trustees.

This can be searched on Lexis under the file name “AMJUR” or by following the path: Legal> Secondary Legal> Jurisprudences & Encyclopedias> American Jurisprudence 2d>.

On Westlaw you can search “AMJUR” which can easily be found from the law school tab under secondary sources. You can also search “AMJUR-EPP” which contains all estate planning and probate materials from American Jurisprudence 2d and can be found from the Estate Planning Practitioner tab under Federal/National Treatises.

Corpus Juris Secundum: A Contemporary Statement of American Law as Derived  from Reported Cases and Legislation.  St. Paul, Minn.: West Group, 2001. REF KF154 .C67 Volumes 95, 96 and 97 cover the law of wills and is kept up to date with cumulative annual pocket parts. The title includes chapters on the following: the right and capacity to make a will; what may pass by will; who may take under a will; contracts for testamentary disposition of property; the nature, requisites and validity; revocation; revival and republication; probate, establishment and annulment; construction; rights and liabilities of devisees and legatees; and joint and mutual wills. You can also look in the index under “Descent and Distribution” Section 1, et seq, and under “Executors and Administrators” Section 1, et seq.

In addition the researcher should look under “Trusts” which begins in Volume 90 and contains an article about estates in property in which legal title or power of dispositions held by one or more persons wholly or in part for the use of another person.  This can be searched under the file name “CJS.”