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Dead Man's Clause

Bedford, PA |

What is exactly the Dead Man's Clause? My friend Mike's Dad died. His Dad was an Antique dealer for years. Mike had a large house and his Dad would store Antiques there. Basically everything in that house was an antique. I was there many times over the past 18 years when his Dad was there. Mikes Dad retired from Antiques 4 yrs ago. Mikes brother is the executor and asked to come to Mikes house to appraise the Antiques and said that Mike would have to pay 3/4 of the value to the Estate (4 kids). Mike said Dad gave them to him his Dad retired. I have been asked to testify. I would see the Dad bring something to the house, place it, and then said boy does that look good there. I never really heard him say it was a gift. It appears Mike cannot testify because of the Dead Mans Clause. Help?

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Attorney answers 1


The dead man's rule is a fairly complicated rule. In simplified form, it prevents someone who is making a claim against an Estate from testifying to the terms of an oral agreement, or (as may be the case here) that a gift was given. The idea is to protect the Estate from false claims, since the decedent cannot testify in opposition to the claim.

The attorneys who are involved with the case can probably give a more specific answer about how this applies to these particular facts

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