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Let's Get Serious: Spousal Abuse Should Bar Inheritance
90 Or. L. Rev. 247-302 (2011)
  • Carla Spivack, Oklahoma City University School of Law
Essentially, the thesis of the article is that a spouse or intimate partner who is found to have committed domestic violence should not be permitted to inherit from the victim. Surprisingly, this is an idea that has seldom been explored in detail in the academic literature. No prior article, to my knowledge, has ever proposed a complete bar to inheritance in these circumstances. Moreover, the few articles that have considered a partial ban have generally done so in passing, without properly situating the proposal in the context of inheritance law in general and fault-based inheritance regimes in particular. This article fills this gap in scholarship: justifying a bar on inheritance as a systemic approach to domestic violence as well as an important use of the law’s expressive function. I demonstrate the inadequacies of current will contest law, address concerns some might raise about respect for the testator’s intent and the stereotyping of battered women, outline procedural and evidentiary details of the proposal, and conclude by offering a draft statute.
  • wills,
  • trusts and estates; women
Publication Date
March 1, 2011
Citation Information
Carla Spivack. Let's Get Serious: Spousal Abuse Should Bar Inheritance 90:1 Or. L. Rev. 247-302 (2011). Available at: