Faculty Profiles

William McGovern

William M. McGovern

Professor of Law Emeritus
A.B. Princeton, 1955
LL.B. Harvard, 1958
UCLA Faculty Since 1971


McGovern & Hirsch California Probate Code Annotated. Thomson West (2018). Published annually. 
Principles of Wills, Trusts & Estates (with Sheldon Kurtz and David English). 2nd ed. West Academic (2012).
Wills, Trusts and Estates Including Taxation and Future Interests (with Sheldon Kurtz and David English). 4th ed. West Academic (2010).
Contracts and Sales: Contemporary Cases and Problems (with Lary Lawrence and Bryan Hull). 2nd ed. LexisNexis (2002). Prior edition: Matthew Bender, 1986.
California Revision Commission Background Study: Rules of Construction: Probate Code Sections 21101-21140. California Law Revision Commission (2000).
Cases and Materials on Wills, Trusts, and Future Interests: An Introduction to Estate Planning. West Publishing (1983).

Articles and Chapters

The Increasing Malpractice Liability of Will Drafters, 133 Trusts & Estates 10-16 (1994).
Undue Influence and Professional Responsibility, 28 Real Property, Probate & Trust Journal 643-81 (1994).
Nonprobate Transfers under the Revised Uniform Probate Code, 55 Albany Law Review 1329-53 (1992). Symposium on the Uniform Probate Code: Reflections on Recent Revisions.
Trust, Custodianships, and Durable Powers of Attorney, 27 Real Property, Probate & Trust Journal 1-47 (1992).
Forfeiture, Inequality of Bargaining Power, and the Availability of Credit: An Historical Perspective, 74 Northwestern University Law Review 141-65 (1979).
Dependent Promises in the History of Leases and Other Contracts, 52 Tulane Law Review 659-705 (1978).
Facts and Rules in the Construction of Wills, 26 UCLA Law Review 285-321 (1978).
The Historical Conception of a Lease for Years, 23 UCLA Law Review 501-28 (1976).
The Payable on Death Account and Other Will Substitutes, 67 Northwestern University Law Review 7-41 (1972).
The Enforcement of Informal Contracts in the Later Middle Ages, 59 California Law Review 1145-93 (1971).
Perpetuities Pitfalls and How Best to Avoid Them, 6 Real Property, Probate & Trust Journal 155-77 (1971).
The Enforcement of Oral Covenants Prior to Assumpsit, 65 Northwestern University Law Review 576-614 (1970).
Contract in Medieval England: The Necessity for Quid Pro Quo and a Sum Certain, 13 American Journal of Legal History 173-201 (1969).
Homicide and Succession to Property, 68 Michigan Law Review 65-110 (1969).
Contract in Medieval England: Wager of Law and the Effect of Death, 54 Iowa Law Review 19-62 (1968).


Book Review, 39 American Journal of Legal History 265-67 (1995). Reviewing Law, Land, and Family: Aristocratic Inheritance in England, 1300 to 1800, by Eileen Spring.
Book Review, 66 Minnesota Law Review 550-60 (1982). Reviewing Rise and Fall of Freedom of Contract, by P.S. Atiyah.
Book Review, 65 Minnesota Law Review 505-09 (1981). Reviewing The Court of King’s Bench: 1450-1550, by Marjorie Blatcher.
Book Review, 25 American Journal of Legal History 75-77 (1981). Reviewing An Introduction to English Legal History (2nd ed.), by J.H. Baker.