Independent-Significance Doctrine Law and Legal Definition

Independent-Significance Doctrine is a legal principle applicable in law of wills whereby a will may dispose of property by reference to facts outside the will as long as the referenced fact has significance independent of its effect upon the testator’s probate estate. For example, if a will provides that the contents of the testator's safe-deposit box be given to his nephew, gift of its contents at the testator's death is valid as the safe-deposit box has utility (“significance”) independent of the will.