Third-party funding of legal claims is becoming more common, and increasingly more controversial. Whether in the legislative arena or in the courts, the fight over whether and how independent parties might provide funding to litigants has become heated. The fight now threatens to spill over into the probate realm, where funders have begun purchasing probate rights from putative heirs. These probate funding transactions share many characteristics with broader litigation funding but also differ in important respects. The meager existing literature tends to address the issue in a pre-biased and methodologically unsound way, making it impossible to properly assess the nature of probate funding. This Article approaches probate funding in a neutral fashion, analyzing the characteristics of the transaction in order to gain greater insights into not only probate funding but also litigation funding, as well as illuminating the options for lawmakers in deciding how the law should react to the continuing evolution of legal funding generally.
May 24, 2019