dead man's statute

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dead man's statute

A law of evidence employed in many states. One version says that a witness may not testify about oral statements made by a decedent (someone who has died) if the effect of the testimony would be to make the decedent's estate larger or smaller, even if the witness would not benefit one way or the other. Another version says witnesses cannot testify about statements made by a decedent if the witness would benefit from those alleged statements.(Be sure to clearly understand which is being used in a specific case.)

References in periodicals archive ?
167, 246 (April 1991) ("Similarly, the dead man statutes are premised upon the notion that decedents' intentions with respect to their lifetime transactions are peculiarly unsusceptible to reliable proof, because decedents cannot speak for themselves and the testimony of witnesses is likely to be colored by self-interest.