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The Reduction for Decedent Self-Consumption: Jurisdictional Mandates for Personal Consumption or Personal Maintenance

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David Schap. 2016. The Reduction for Decedent Self-Consumption: Jurisdictional Mandates for Personal Consumption or Personal Maintenance. Journal of Legal Economics 22(2): pp. 107–142.

Includes Editors notes from Journal of Legal Economics 23(1)

The Reduction for Decedent Self-Consumption: Jurisdictional Mandates for Personal Consumption or Personal Maintenance

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In a wrongful death or survival action, economic damages in most state jurisdictions are assessed recognizing that some portion of the future earnings of the decedent absent the death event would have been consumed by the decedent in the act of living. Where account is taken of this aspect, there is a reduction for what is termed herein as the decedent’s self-consumption. In the vast majority of U.S. legal jurisdictions, the reduction is accomplished according to a norm of personal consumption, which measures the amount a decedent could be expected to have actually consumed in the future absent the death event and after netting out any joint consumption (i.e., any amounts that would have been consumed by the decedent and one or more household members simultaneously, like household heat). There are, however, five states that apply at least in part an alternative norm of personal maintenance, which measures the amount minimally necessary for the decedent in the absence of the death event to have consumed to maintain existence and well being needed to continue to function as an earner. This article presents the results of a 2015 survey of U.S. state-level legal jurisdictions concerning the particular treatment of the reduction for decedent self-consumption, including references to applicable law. Includes Editors notes from Journal of Legal Economics 23(1)

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Authors David Schap
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