Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



This Comment identifies a central tenet of wealth transfer law that should guide federal actors when operating in this area: Wealth transfer law facilitates donative intent by responding to circumstances unanticipated by the donor. Wealth transfer law performs this intent- fulfilling function by supplying opt-outs, presumptions, and default rules to solve problems created by the donor's inability to predict or respond to future events. To illustrate that principle, this Comment will focus on one such rule, disclaimer rights, which refer to a donee's refusal to accept a donative transfer. In "Disclaimers and Federalism," Professor Adam J. Hirsch identifies several settings in which federal law improperly displaces or applies state law disclaimer rights. This Comment argues that many of the conflicts identified by Professor Hirsch could be transparently and fairly evaluated by considering principles of donative intent and unanticipated circumstances.