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Presumption is a legal inference that must be made in light of certain facts. For example, in the case of In Interest of Keiss, the Appellate Court of Illinois, Third District defined presumption as a legal inference; a party challenging it can overcome the presumption by providing the appropriate burden of proof

Most presumptions are rebuttable, meaning that they are rejected if proven to be false or at least thrown into sufficient doubt with evidence. Other presumptions are conclusive, meaning that they must be accepted to be true without any opportunity for rebuttal. In Sandstrom v. Montana, the United States Supreme Court described a conclusive presumption as “an irrebuttable direction” in light of certain convincing facts. However, the Court noted that a conclusive presumption or a presumption that shifted the burden of persuasion to the defendant could pose constitutional issues. 

[Last updated in January of 2024 by the Wex Definitions Team]