Bava Batra 152 - Strengthening the Will


If a seriously ill person drafted a sickbed will in which he distributed all his property, it takes effect after his death, and no further action is needed. What happens if he also performed a symbolic acquisition and wrote about it in his will?

Rav says that he is "riding on two steeds," giving his will both the power of a sickbed bequest and of the gift of a healthy person. Shmuel, however, says that he may have intended the acquisition to take effect after his death, and gifts cannot be given after death.

Here are the rules then:

* A formal acquisition done without explanation invalidates the will;
* A formal acquisition, explained to reinforce the bequest makes the recipient feel good, but is retractable upon the ill person's recovery;
* A written will, delivered to the recipient, together with a formal acquisition, makes it irrevocable.

Art: Eastman Johnson - The Little Convalescent