Brief Fact Summary. This excerpt involves Indiana's "Dead Man's Statute".
Rather than excluding evidence, the statute prevents a particular class of witnesses from testifying as to claims against the estate.View Full Point of Law
Held. The dead man's statute provides in relevant part: "[i]n suits or proceedings in which an executor or administrator is a party, involving matters which occurred during a lifetime of the decedent, where a judgment or allowance may be made or rendered for or against the estate represented by such executor or administrator; any person who is a necessary party to the issue or record, whose interest is adverse to such estate, shall not be a competent witness as to such matters against such estate…." A purpose of this statute is "to prevent persons from testifying against the estate as to transactions, acts or conversations of the decedent when the decedent's 'lips are sealed by death. ' " Another is to prevent fraud.
Discussion. The authors of the textbook use the case to explain why certain testimony may not have been admissible in [Wilhoite v. Beck].