Vanderbilt Law Review

Article Title

The Form of Wills


Ernst Rabel

First Page



"Yielding Place to New: Rest Versus Motion in the Conflict of Laws"' Under this headline Herbert F. Goodrich, the eminent leader, recently reviewed improvements of judicial attitudes. Concluding his stimulating essay, he states that "motion and rest" must stay balanced; no total codification of uniform conflicts rules will be feasible until our experience is much enhanced. I fully agree. It is also my own impression that conflicts law needs infinitely more study and effort, not only by the courts, but also, and in the first place, by the scholars. But could not the approach toward reasonable and uniform judicial rules be speeded up a bit? Could the partial legislative activity, which Goodrich does not fail to mention, not enjoy more favor with draftsmen and legislatures?

A very small but, in its close limits, rather significant piece of illustration may be offered here.

When the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws was founded in 1892, practically their first work was the drafting of an act relating to the execution of wills. The wording was identical with the text agreed upon in 18963 and again with that promulgated in 1910 as the Uniform Wills Act, Foreign Executed. Among the many subsequent uniform bills this is a "rara avis", belonging to the "conflictual" kind. It provided that wills executed in a foreign state in a manner recognized at the forum or at the testator's domicil should be considered as if they were executed in the mode of the forum. This rule extended to interests in land.