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Report No. 82

3.7. "Will substitute".-

The aspect which we have stressed in also dealt with in a fairly recent publication.1 It has been pointed out that the dominant "will substitute" in modern practice is life insurance, and it has been observed as follows in that publication:-

"The only significant assets of the estates of most people are the proceeds of one or more life insurance policies. For such people, constituting a majority of the population, determination of the distribution of that 'property' through the designation of a beneficiary under the insurance contract not only has precisely the same function as a Will, but constitutes a much more important 'testament' than the Will. In view of the number of people involved, the life insurance beneficiary designation is the principal 'last Will and testament' of our legal system. A properly designated beneficiary will receive the proceeds of the insurance without regard to compliance with the formalities required in the law of Wills."

1. Kimball The Functions of Designations of Beneficiaries in Modern Life Insurances in U.S.A., in Hellner G. Hord (Editors), Life Insurance an International Perspective, (1969), pp. 74, 76, cited in Langbain Substantial Compliance with the Will, (1975) 88 Harvard Law Review 489, 508.



Effect of Nomination under Section 39 of the Insurance Act, 1938 Back




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