Once, estate planning meant executing a will: a single instrument that passed through probate and disposed of all of a decedent’s possessions. Today, most middle and upper class individuals attempt to avoid court based in succession by using contract-like devices. Indeed, they hold vast reservoirs of wealth in pensions, life insurance, and pay-on-death accounts.10 These non-probate mechanisms allow owners to name beneficiaries by filling out a form. Contractual indescendibility is the inverse of this movement: the recognition that, just as private agreement can facilitate testation, it can deny the right to engage in testation altogether.
The issues surrounding what Professor David Horton of the University of California at Davis Law School calls indescenability are deftly outlined and discussed in this recent law review article published at 66 Hastings Law Journal 1047-1081. The intellectual property in blogs such as this one may not belong to the creators of such due to contractual provisions in the user agreements.