Incorporate by Reference Law and Legal Definition

Incorporation by reference is the act of including a second document within another document by only mentioning the second document. This is done by attaching the document to the back of the court papers or contract. This act, if properly done, makes the entire second document a part of the main document. This common drafting practice is used to incorporate by reference an existing writing into a pleading, contract, or other legal document in order to save space.

In case of wills, certain requirements are to be met before there can be incorporation by reference. They are:

  • The document to be incorporated must exist at the time the will is executed.
  • The will must manifest the intention of the testator to incorporate the provisions of the incorporated document.
  • The will must describe the document with particularity, so that it may be identified.

Incorporation by reference is often done in creating laws as well as in contract law and trust and estate law.

The typical language used for incorporation by reference is as follows: "Plaintiff incorporates by reference all of the allegations contained in the First and Second Causes of Action hereinabove stated."