necessaries. 1. Things that are indispensable to living <an infant’s necessaries include food, shelter, and clothing>. • Necessaries include whatever food, medicine, clothing, shelter, and personal services are usu. considered reasonably essential for the preservation and enjoyment of life, to the extent that a person having a duty of protection must furnish them. — Also termed necessities; necessities of life. [Cases: Husband and Wife 19.] 2. Things that are essential to maintaining the lifestyle to which one is accustomed <a multimillionaire’s necessaries may include a chauffeured limousine and a private chef>. • The term includes whatever is reasonably needed for subsistence, health, comfort, and education, considering the person’s age, station in life, and medical condition, but it excludes (1) anything purely ornamental, (2) anything solely for pleasure, (3) what the person is already supplied with, (4) anything that concerns someone’s estate or business as opposed to personal needs, and (5) borrowed money. Under the common law, a husband was required to pay debts incurred by his wife or children for necessaries. Beginning in the late 1960s, most states began to change their statutes regarding the obligation to provide necessaries to include both husband and wife. See DOCTRINE OF NECESSARIES; FAMILY-EXPENSE STATUTE .

“Things may be of a useful character, but the quality or quantity supplied may take them out of the character of necessaries. Elementary textbooks might be a necessary to a student of law, but not a rare edition of ‘Littleton’s Tenures,’ or eight or ten copies of ‘Stephen’s Commentaries.’ Necessaries also vary according to the station in life of the infant or his peculiar circumstances at the time. The quality of clothing suitable to an Eton boy would be unnecessary for a telegraph clerk; the medical attendance and diet required by an invalid would be unnecessary to one in ordinary health. It does not follow therefore that because a thing is of a useful class, a judge is bound to allow a jury to say whether or no it is a necessary.” William R. Anson, Principles of the Law of Contract 172 (Arthur L. Corbin ed., 3d Am. ed. 1919).


3.Maritime law. Supplies and services needed for the maintenance and operation of a vessel, including repairs, tow fees, and the costs of loading and unloading. • Authorized provision of necessaries automatically confers a maritime lien to the provider under the Federal Maritime Lien Act, 46 USCA §§ 31341–31343.“The case law is clear that ‘necessaries’ does not mean absolutely indispensable; rather, the term refers to what is reasonably needed in the ship’s business.” Thomas J. Schoenbaum, Admiralty and Maritime Law 256 (1987).

[Blacks Law 8th]