The Instigator
1h8tephil
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Maleck
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Riggs v. Palmer summary

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/28/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 594 times Debate No: 65955
Debate Rounds (4)
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1h8tephil

Pro

1). Francis B. Palmer owned a farm and personal property. (1.2)
2). Francis B. Palmer made his last will and testament on August 13, 1880. (1.1)
3). Francis B. Palmer"s will attested that his two daughters Mrs. Riggs and Mrs. Preston receive small legacies while Elmer E. Palmer his grandson, receive the remainder of his estate as long as Elmer outlives Francis and is unmarried and without any issue. (1.1)
4). Elmer knew of the provisions that favored him in Francis"s will so he decided to murder him by poisoning his grandfather to obtain immediate possession of the property entitled to him in the will. (1.5)
5). Elmer claims that by the letter of the law since the will was made in due form he has the right to claim the property. (1.6)
6). It was the intention of law makers that donees should have the property given to them but it was never their intention that the donee who murders the testator to gain the property should have any benefit under it. (3.2-3)
7). The writers of laws did not always express their intention perfectly but because of this they expected judges to use rational interpretation of the language used in the law. (3.6)
8). Since the letter of the law is not expressed perfectly in some cases an equitable construction is drawn which dictates the letter of the statue is sometimes holden to be within the meaning providing a remedy for the mischief. (4.2-3)
9). The construction of statues states if any absurd consequences arise contradictory to common reason then collateral consequences are void meaning if the general language of the law is unreasonable to the case judges have the decency to conclude it was not foreseen by parliament and can disregard it. (4.8-9)
10). As was so in the case of Mutual life Insurance Company v. Armstrong where it was held that the person who murdered the policy owner in order to obtain payment on behalf of the policyholder payable only upon death of the policy owner would forfeit their right to that payment. (7.4-6)
11). Under the circumstances in this case what law will allow Elmer to take the estate of Francis after murdering him to reap the benefits of his crime? (9.2)
12). The rule of a statue can be nullified if a will is procured by fraud, therefore decreeing it void and excluding it from probate so the person who tried inducing the will does not reap the benefit.
13). Thus, I believe Elmer should not be awarded the inheritance.
Non controversial- 1-5, 9, 10, 12
Controversial 6, 7, 8, 11
These Statements hold controversy because they only address the intent of what law makers may have wanted to address in the letter of the law. It addresses the fallacies in the common language of the law but it also distinguishes the reasonableness in determining whether or not the language within itself represents a broader intention in administering a viable answer. There is strict language regarding probate statutes, but writers of law cannot anticipate every set of possible facts when drafting a statute. Since there were no previous cases by which to gauge this one,
there might have been a duty to set precedence for future cases. The language of the will may not have expressed the exact situation at hand but the equitable construction allowed room for a reasonable modification to be implemented so that in the progression of time and future cases there can be drawn a judgment that would remain relevant. This is why court decided that it could never have been the intention of the legislature that a person who murdered someone could be able to benefit from his or her own wrong doing. Since lawmakers do not always express their intentions perfectly on paper, judges must make a rational interpretation of the legislature"s intentions. The court believed that the legislature would have prevented this particular case if they had thought of such a possibility. The court took a natural law approach to the case determining that certain rights or values are inherent recognizable by virtue of human nature.
Maleck

Con

1). Francis B. Palmer owned a farm and personal property. (1.2)
2). Francis B. Palmer made his last will and testament on August 13, 1880. (1.1)
3). Francis B. Palmer"s will attested that his two daughters Mrs. Riggs and Mrs. Preston receive small legacies while Elmer E. Palmer his grandson, receive the remainder of his estate as long as Elmer outlives Francis and is unmarried and without any issue. (1.1)
4). Elmer knew of the provisions that favored him in Francis"s will so he decided to murder him by poisoning his grandfather to obtain immediate possession of the property entitled to him in the will. (1.5)
5). Elmer claims that by the letter of the law since the will was made in due form he has the right to claim the property. (1.6)
6) "The question we are dealing with is, whether a testamentary disposition can be altered, or a will revoked, after the testator's death, through an appeal to the courts, when the legislature has, by its enactments, prescribed exactly when and how wills may be made, altered and revoked, and, apparently, as it seems to me, when they have been fully complied with, has left no room for the exercise of an equitable jurisdiction by courts over such matters" (19.3).
7) "To the statutory restraints, which are imposed upon the disposition of one's property by will, are added strict and systematic statutory rules for the execution, alteration and revocation of the will; which must be, at least, substantially, if not exactly, followed to insure validity and performance" (19.5)
8) . "The words of the section of the statute are: "No will in writing, except in the cases hereinafter mentioned, nor any part thereof, shall be revoked or altered otherwise," etc. Where, therefore, none of the cases mentioned are met by the facts, and the revocation is not in the way described in the section, the will of the testator is unalterable" (22.2-3).
9) "The appellants' argument practically amounts to this: That as the legatee has been guilty of a crime, by the commission of which he is placed in a position to sooner receive the benefits of the testamentary provision, his rights to the property should be forfeited and he should be divested of his estate. To allow their argument to prevail would involve the diversion by the court of the testator's estate into the hands of persons, whom, possibly enough, for all we know, the testator might not have chosen or desired as its recipients. Practically the court is asked to make another will for the testator. The laws do not warrant this judicial action, and mere presumption would not be strong enough to sustain it" (24.3-5)
10 "What power or warrant have the courts to add to the respondent's penalties by depriving him of property? The law has punished him for his crime, and we may not say that it was an insufficient punishment. In the trial and punishment of the respondent the law has vindicated itself for the outrage which he committed, and further judicial utterance upon the subject of punishment or deprivation of rights is barred. We may not, in the language of the court in People v. Thornton (25 Hun, 456), 'enhance the pains, penalties and forfeitures provided by law for the punishment of crime' "(25.2-5).
11) Therefore, Elmer should be entitled to his inheritance in the will.
Non controversial 1-5.
Controversial 6-10
These premises are controversial due to the fact that the courts are altering a will to prevent an evil from being rewarded rather than the will of the testator being respected and implemented proper. When the courts altered the will they in a sense devalued the will and altered it to where the will was of the court not of the original testator. The court made some assumptions that the testator would have possibly made changes if he was still alive but how can a court apply law based on assumptions? The way the statue of a will was designed was no intention that a will was to be altered by a court. By punishing Elmer further by not allowing him his inheritance is questionable that they took it too far when Elmer was already charged for the murder of his grandfather.
Debate Round No. 1
1h8tephil

Pro

Response to premises 6-10
In response to the premise asked in statement 6 on whether a testamentary disposition can be altered, or a will revoked, after the testator's death, through an appeal to the courts can be answered by identifying with the term equitable construction, which is the construction of a statute by either restraining or enlarging the letter of the statute. It allows the court jurisdiction to make and adjust certain modifications to a will under special circumstances in certain cases. Since this case is one of them the court is obliged to use rational interpretation which allows the courts to either limit or expand on a statute without deviating from the principles of the statute and applying it to the circumstances. Since Elmer murdered his grandfather for the intention of receiving property in favor of him provided in the will, is it not the courts job in this case to find out whether the lawmakers of the statute intended for a person to benefit from their crime if no provisions in the will states anything about it?.
(Statement 10)
In reference to the question regarding the power or warrant the courts have to add to the respondent's penalties by depriving him of property. There were no added penalties by depriving Elmer of property since Elmer deprived himself of obtaining the property. The courts recognized that since Elmer tried to expedite his inheritance through fraudulent means, the rule of a statue in a case gives jurisdiction to the nullification of a will since the procurement was through fraudulent means. The law does not promote the idea that someone should benefit from their crime so this in turns decree"s the will void excluding it from probate so the person who tried inducing the will through a fraudulent manner does not reap the benefit.
Statements (7,8,9)
In response to the other question presented "The court made some assumptions that the testator would have possibly made changes if he was still alive but how can a court apply law based on assumptions?" . In respect to this claim I don"t believe the court made such assumptions. It merely took into consideration the factors and all possible scenarios involved in this case and made a rational interpretation of how a reasonable man would have responded to changes of the will if he was aware of unforeseeable actions. It is Likely that Francis would not have wanted to induce or enter in his will property for grandson if he was aware at the time of Elmer"s devious behavior. Since Francis is not alive to determine what actions he may have decided to take regarding the distribution of his property given all the information at hand, the judge now has to assess the circumstances surrounding the construction of the will and whether the language of the will would have expressed his intention to date.
Therefore, it is not rash to assume that the courts made a reasonable interpretation of the will in taking to account what Francis as a reasonable man would of declared to change in his will if allotted the chance to before he was murdered by his grandson. When the law is left ambiguous, it is up to the courts to decide whether the particular circumstances are under the jurisdiction of the law and this is what the judges did they decided by going straight to the intentions of the law makers and relied on the fundamental maxim"s of the common law. Elmer"s decision to commit murder and place himself in a position to receive the benefits of the provision practically warranted the courts to make another will for the testator. Even though the laws do not warrant this kind of judicial action, it is required in order to sustain reasonable order. This is why court decided that it could never have been the intention of the legislature that a person who murdered someone could be able to benefit from his or her own wrong doing. In reference to your statement "When the courts altered the will they in a sense devalued the will and altered it to where the will was of the court not of the original testator." How did the court devalue the will when all but one of the recipients retained the property through a non-fraudulent manner?
Maleck

Con

In your response to premise 6 -10 "Since Elmer murdered his grandfather for the intention of receiving property in favor of him provided in the will, is it not the courts job in this case to find out whether the lawmakers of the statute intended for a person to benefit from their crime if no provisions in the will states anything about it?" In some cases yes, but in this situation the court's decision to go against the will contradicts the main purpose of what a will is suppose to do. If I wrote in my will that my daughter is to get my car; is it not my wish that at that moment I made that decision the only thing that matters? The court cannot possibly know all the circumstances on the relationship between Elmer and his grandfather that they can decide he was not worthy entitlements in the will. But to answer the question in a different way it should not be the court's business on what the will gave inheritance to. The court should have only focused on the fact that Elmer murdered his grandfather. By also punishing Elmer the court took it too far when they decided that not only are you a murderer but we are also going to take your newly acquired property as well.
(Statement 10 response)
Can we know for sure that Elmer's intentions of murdering his grandfather was for his inheritance of the will alone? If I plotted to murder my grandfather for a week and I finally proceeded and accomplished it while at the same time my grandfather wrote a will within that week should I also not receive my benefits of the will? In the case it states " He knew of the provisions made in his favor in the will, and, that he might prevent his] grandfather from revoking such provisions, which he had manifested some intention to do, and to obtain the speedy enjoyment and immediate possession of his property, he willfully murdered him by poisoning him" (1.4). Only some intention was proven and is not completely clear that his intention was entirely to obtain his inheritance so the court reasoning that his inheritance should also be void with the charge of murder seem to be excessive.
(Statements 7,8,9 response)
"It merely took into consideration the factors and all possible scenarios involved in this case and made a rational interpretation of how a reasonable man would have responded to changes of the will if he was aware of unforeseeable actions". There will always be unforeseeable actions in writing a will. If I made a will that promised one of my two children that they each would receive one of two of the cars I owned, but one of the cars ends up being destroyed, should it be that both of my children would now have to share the one car that remains because my original intentions was to leave two cars in my passing? His will did not state "if I was to be murdered by any of the person(s) mentioned in this will that person(s) shall not inherit anything". Therefore, the grandfather did not fully construct his will to protect himself from being murdered due to greed (if it truly was greed as Elmer's intention).
In response to your question " How did the court devalue the will when all but one of the recipients retained the property through a non-fraudulent manner?" The courts have devalued the will because not all of the recipients received what was originally written in the will. By not following the will in a strict manner the court did not follow the will 100%. In your example of not being able to foresee the circumstances to the grandfather's murder. If you take out a loan to attend college but fail to obtain a job to pay back those loans at agreed time should the court then take that contract and change it to meet the needs of the college student because the student did not foresee that his financial situation would not be stable enough to pay back his debt? Also in your 7th premises you mentioned that lawmakers don't express their intentions perfectly since the lawmakers failed to place murder under the statue of a will, why should we punish Elmer for being although evil, but in a way cleaver to achieve inheritance quicker? What gives reason or should we allow courts to make this ex post facto effect to deny Elmer's inheritance on a statue that did not cover murder and a will that did not specify a evil act of death?
Debate Round No. 2
1h8tephil

Pro

In response to your question as a far as how should a testator go about writing a will. I suppose the same way they always do but initiating in the will a foul play clause allowing an option to let the courts or a third party decide on unforeseeable issues that may arise. It is understandable why most people create wills but they are not doing so to fathom that situations like the Elmer case would arise. It is known the statutes that help regulate the creation of a will do exist and these statutes are in place in order to make sure that the testator takes into consideration all possible scenarios and the will be satisfied in its entirety, it was not clear in the minds of the creators of such statutes that another could possibly murder the testator in order to expedite his inheritance. As well we can assume that the grandfather knowing that his grandson would attempt to murder him in order to obtain the provision, it would be unlikely he would be made a reasonable recipient.
In reference to the public policy not being true I disagree in the fact that the view of public policy incorporates the principle which holds that a person may not lawfully do that which tends to injure the public. Elmer"s murder of his grandfather to attain property displays a definite injury to the public, which demanded the proper execution of the crime be punished through the law. Allowing Elmer the murderer to get his rewards from the will after killing the Francis for it, will reward the murderer for his crime. This is controversial to public policy because it is displaying to the public that rewarding the criminal for his crime is good. So in this case should the criminal be rewarded because it was part of a legal document called a will?.
A person who writes a will and passes away expects his provisions to go to the ones he loved and cared for not the ones he thought would plot out a murder scheme to collect what he worked so hard to attain. If Elmer is allotted to receive the provisions in the will then what are we telling the public it is right to commit murder to receive property of loved ones because it"s a loophole through the law? Society lives with moral codes that are infused with the language of the law and speaks a great deal on what we as citizens expect from one another in our social human contract. So just because the will does not include fine print stating anything about murder or death by a person on the will does not mean the law should allow Elmer to receive his money. A criminal is punished for his actions and his actions nullified his option in receiving such benefits through Francis"s will.
In response to "The "intention" to revoke a will should not be accepted as being an "effective" way to revoke a will in Dan v. Brown (4 Cow. 490)". Elmer"s Intention can be presumed to be not "effective" but one thing the courts will agree on is his "intention" and his "act" definitely had an "effect" to whether he should receive the provisions. You argued that there can never be a "visible sign of revocation" from the grandfather due to his death, but isn"t the immediate murder of his grandfather the visible sign of revocation since the will was in play? You also stated that "how would the courts decide on what the testator would like to have certain parts of his property" The courts did not have to pick apart who would get what they just omitted Elmer from receiving any property giving the original recipients equal share of their due. You also stated "The grandfather in this case may have seen Elmer being the only one to be a perfect candidate to his original inheritance." Isn"t that also a presumptuous statement? if he were the only one then what is the point of putting the others in the will and having Elmer meet "specific" guidelines to attain the property?
Maleck

Con

(Premise 6-10 response)
In the two questions presented it is easy to play a form of a "what if" to defend the courts actions. But how should a testator go about writing his or her will then to prevent such cases? If a testator has to always predict that they might be murdered by the person(s) in the will why even make the will? When writing a will a testator's intentions are not a "what if" I was murdered by the person(s) mentioned in this will it is a "this person(s) gets this in my death" state of mind. I think you are missing the certain area I am trying to touch upon. At the time a testator writes a will he is giving away property to those he wishes to obtain it. If murdered by a person(s) within the will where is it that it is the courts responsibility to not only punish a person for the crime of murder but to take the role of being the testator and making altercations to the will.
In your example about my daughter under public policy is not true. Public policy "demands are satisfied by the proper execution of the laws and the punishment of the crime" (24.2). The stages of this case went like this: Elmer knew he was getting inheritance from his grandfather, Elmer murdered him, Due to Elmer's intentions the court should deny all Elmer his inheritance and change the contract . The law did not grand the court permission to do this (24.3-5). A testator doesn't write a will for it to be void it is written to pass out property at time of death I would feel cheated if I write a will just to be changed with the possibility of someone else getting the property I stated otherwise.

(Statement 10 response)
The "intention" to revoke a will should not be accepted as being an "effective" way to revoke a will in Dan v. Brown (4 Cow. 490): "Revocation is an act of the mind, which must be demonstrated by some outward and visible sign of revocation." (22.5-6). The statement you highlighted shows there was intentions from Elmer but there can never be a "visible sign of revocation" from the grandfather due to his death. "To [the] argument to prevail would involve the diversion by the court of the testator's estate into the hands of persons, whom, possibly enough, for all we know, the testator might not have chosen or desired as its recipients" (24.5). Even if the courts were allowed to alter the will due to fraudulent means how can they have full knowledge on how the testator would alter the will? They would have to know what the testator would like to have certain parts of his property. This leads a chance of the courts making a decision where the testator might not even approve the new altered will the court has presented. The grandfather in this case may have seen Elmer being the only one to be a perfect candidate to his original inheritance. How do the courts alter the will that they believe the testator would approve without knowing the testator?
(Statement 7-9 response)
You stated " Elmer was entitled to the property until he decided to create a loophole through the plain language of the law". Elmer did not make any changes to the will he only made it so his inheritance was granted sooner. Elmer being punished for murder is one case as to the court changing a will is the issue alone. It should be the testator alone who makes those changes because he cannot make any how is it the court's decision to make that change for him? and how can the court be sure the changes they make are even what the testator would want? They cannot possibly know for sure so in a sense they will alter the will that they see is right. This makes the will the court's not the grandfathers.
`I agree " Elmer is being punished for murder which is a criminal act". But that is where it should end. I do not believe this gives the courts the right to take it even further by changing a contract. The court is the third party in this case who takes control of the whole situation. The Grandfather did not and could not show any sign of visible alteration or voiding the will. The idea the courts are allowed to grant this permission on to themselves is not the right action.
Debate Round No. 3
1h8tephil

Pro

1). Francis B. Palmer owned a farm and personal property. (1.2)
2). Francis B. Palmer made his last will and testament on August 13, 1880. (1.1)
3). Francis B. Palmer"s will attested that his two daughters Mrs. Riggs and Mrs. Preston receive small legacies while Elmer E. Palmer his grandson, receive the remainder of his estate as long as Elmer outlives Francis and is unmarried and without any issue. (1.1)
4). Elmer knew of the provisions that favored him in Francis"s will so he decided to murder him by poisoning his grandfather to obtain immediate possession of the property entitled to him in the will. (1.5)
5). Elmer claims that by the letter of the law since the will was made in due form he has the right to claim the property. (1.6)
6). It was the intention of law makers that donees should have the property given to them but it was never their intention that the donee who murders the testator to gain the property should have any benefit under it. (3.2-3)
7). The writers of laws did not always express their intention perfectly but because of this they expected judges to use rational interpretation of the language used in the law. (3.6)
8). Since the letter of the law is not expressed perfectly in some cases an equitable construction is drawn which dictates the letter of the statue is sometimes holden to be within the meaning providing a remedy for the mischief. (4.2-3)
9). The construction of statues states if any absurd consequences arise contradictory to common reason then collateral consequences are void meaning if the general language of the law is unreasonable to the case judges have the decency to conclude it was not foreseen by parliament and can disregard it. (4.8-9)
10). As was so in the case of Mutual life Insurance Company v. Armstrong where it was held that the person who murdered the policy owner in order to obtain payment on behalf of the policyholder payable only upon death of the policy owner would forfeit their right to that payment. (7.4-6)
11). Under the circumstances in this case what law will allow Elmer to take the estate of Francis after murdering him to reap the benefits of his crime? (9.2)
12). The rule of a statue can be nullified if a will is procured by fraud, therefore decreeing it void and excluding it from probate so the person who tried inducing the will does not reap the benefit.
13). Thus, I believe Elmer should not be awarded the inheritance.
Non controversial- 1-5, 9, 10, 12
Controversial 6, 7, 8, 11 (Closing Arguments)
Premise 6 -10 (rebuttal)
In response to your answer/question if at the time you did write a will delegating your daughter to possess a vehicle after your passing would it dawn on you that at the time you were making this will your daughter was plotting to murder you for it. If aware of her future actions at the time would you still proceed with giving her this gift?Are the courtsfallible in speaking for you beyond the grave?. Even if you did decide to reward her for her sneaky deeds the courts cant. Her fraudulent and mischievous actions go against a moral justification that disregards the principle of the law. Since there is a special relationship there it would be inconceivable to think a reasonable person would want to draw out a will knowing he will be murdered for it. The will can also be seen as a contract in which the courts decide whether there was a breach. If your daughter plotted to murder you and did so the will (contract) can be found unenforceable on grounds of public policy. Your daughter tried to attain property through fraudulent means making the contract void and also her actions in doing so could pose harm to society as a whole. Would the courts really start ruling in favor for a murderer"s gain? a court will never enforce a contract promoting something already against state or federal law.
(Statement 10 Rebuttal)
In your response to statement 10 I think you answered your own question which kind of goes against the point you may have been trying to make. The question asked was "Can we know for sure that Elmer's intentions of murdering his grandfather was for his inheritance of the will alone?" I will highlight some of the points in your own answer to clarify it. "He knew of the provisions made in his favor in the will, and, that he might prevent his grandfather from revoking such provisions, which he had manifested some intention to do, and to obtain the speedy enjoyment and immediate possession of his property, he willfully murdered him by poisoning him" (1.4). In response to the analogy you tried to make for yourself if you did plot to kill your grandfather and proceeded to do so within the same week he wrote out his will your "intention" was only to murder him without the knowledge of a will it was just coincidental the will arose. Here Elmer "knew" of the will which gave him "motive" a mensrea to collect what he thought was his. He wanted to prevent his grandfather from changing his mind so he murdered him for gain as where you just wanted to murder him just because.
(Statements 7,8,9 Rebuttal)
In response to the analogy you tried to make here I don"t fully understand the point you are trying to make, yes there are unforeseeable actions in a will that can"t all be stated in the will but the fault would not merely rely on the property but in the actions taken to enact a will. There were certain stipulations that had to be followed in order for Elmer to receive his provisions your right Francis could not write in "grandson you can"t kill me " but the courts cannot adhere to murder for the gain of property. Elmer was entitled to the property until he decided to create a loophole through the plain language of the law. The courts have to decide whether it is morally and legally right to let a murderer reap his benefits and they did so by using rational interpretation of the language. Francis is in the same situation as lawmakers since their intentions aren"t perfect equitable construction is required to find a remedy in the imperfection.
As far as your analogy to the loan I think it is an irrelevant argument to make. There is already huge amounts of foreseeable circumstances when taking out a loan the whole purpose of the loan is a person does not have the means to pay what they are borrowing so the courts would not have to change anything we are speaking about inconceivable and unforeseeable circumstances. Circumstances that morally and legally create a contradiction to the language of law. Elmer is being punished for murder which is a criminal act. Since there were not many cases to gauge Elmer"s case the precedent had to be set in his. The courts cannot and will not reward evil with good so even though the will did not state the specific act of murder it does not bar the courts of assisting to modify the intentions the language of the will and a reasonable man"s interpretation of the law according to the will.
In closing the facts have been passed upon twice with the same result, first upon the trial of Palmer for murder, and then by the referee in this action. It takes from him no property, but simply holds that he shall not acquire property by his crime, and thus be rewarded for its commission. The court is therefore, of opinion That Elmer E. Palmer be Prohibited from using any of the personalty or real estate left by the testator for Elmer's benefit and the plaintiffs are the true owners of the real and personal estate left by the testator under the ante-nuptial agreement, and that the plaintiffs have costs in all the courts against Elmer. (14-15)
Maleck

Con

1). Francis B. Palmer owned a farm and personal property. (1.2)
2). Francis B. Palmer made his last will and testament on August 13, 1880. (1.1)
3). Francis B. Palmer"s will attested that his two daughters Mrs. Riggs and Mrs. Preston receive small legacies while Elmer E. Palmer his grandson, receive the remainder of his estate as long as Elmer outlives Francis and is unmarried and without any issue. (1.1)
4). Elmer knew of the provisions that favored him in Francis"s will so he decided to murder him by poisoning his grandfather to obtain immediate possession of the property entitled to him in the will. (1.5)
5). Elmer claims that by the letter of the law since the will was made in due form he has the right to claim the property. (1.6)
6) "The question we are dealing with is, whether a testamentary disposition can be altered, or a will revoked, after the testator's death, through an appeal to the courts, when the legislature has, by its enactments, prescribed exactly when and how wills may be made, altered and revoked, and, apparently, as it seems to me, when they have been fully complied with, has left no room for the exercise of an equitable jurisdiction by courts over such matters" (19.3).
7) "To the statutory restraints, which are imposed upon the disposition of one's property by will, are added strict and systematic statutory rules for the execution, alteration and revocation of the will; which must be, at least, substantially, if not exactly, followed to insure validity and performance" (19.5)
8) . "The words of the section of the statute are: "No will in writing, except in the cases hereinafter mentioned, nor any part thereof, shall be revoked or altered otherwise," etc. Where, therefore, none of the cases mentioned are met by the facts, and the revocation is not in the way described in the section, the will of the testator is unalterable" (22.2-3).
9) "The appellants' argument practically amounts to this: That as the legatee has been guilty of a crime, by the commission of which he is placed in a position to sooner receive the benefits of the testamentary provision, his rights to the property should be forfeited and he should be divested of his estate. To allow their argument to prevail would involve the diversion by the court of the testator's estate into the hands of persons, whom, possibly enough, for all we know, the testator might not have chosen or desired as its recipients. Practically the court is asked to make another will for the testator. The laws do not warrant this judicial action, and mere presumption would not be strong enough to sustain it" (24.3-5)
10 "What power or warrant have the courts to add to the respondent's penalties by depriving him of property? The law has punished him for his crime, and we may not say that it was an insufficient punishment. In the trial and punishment of the respondent the law has vindicated itself for the outrage which he committed, and further judicial utterance upon the subject of punishment or deprivation of rights is barred. We may not, in the language of the court in People v. Thornton (25 Hun, 456), 'enhance the pains, penalties and forfeitures provided by law for the punishment of crime' "(25.2-5).
11) Therefore, Elmer should be entitled to his inheritance in the will.
non-controversial 1-5
controversial 6 -10
Responding to your last few questions " but isn"t the immediate murder of his grandfather the visible sign of revocation since the will was in play?" not exactly the revocation would have to come from the testator. "'The grandfather in this case may have seen Elmer being the only one to be a perfect candidate to his original inheritance.' Isn"t that also a presumptuous statement?" Yes, but the court can never know that due to the death of the grandfather. " If he were the only one then what is the point of putting the others in the will and having Elmer meet "specific" guidelines to attain the property?" Elmer did meet the guidelines the reason the grandfather mentioned more people was to ensure his farm would be secured. Since Elmer was in first position it should be that he was a better candidate than anyone else.
To end off, Elmer should in no doubt be punish for the crime of murder. But the courts being allowed to alter wills which are strict contracts still remains a issue. The court uses idea that "an evil deed should not be rewarded". But altering a will should have not been the answer.
Debate Round No. 4
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