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In claims against a decedent's estate, the person who brings an action against the estate is incompetent to testify. The law evens things up by closing the claimant's mouth because the decedent is unable to testify. Dead man statutes are waived: (1) When the executor fails to assert the statute; and (2) When the executor calls the claimant as a witness. Because of their frequent unfairness they are strictly construed; only the immediate beneficiary is disqualified to testify and they are applied only to money judgments, or to actions against the estate. Most states have abolished the statutes and have created a special exception to the hearsay rule. The special exception allows the introduction of statements of matters of recent firsthand knowledge made by the decedent prior to death.

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