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REVOCATION OF WILLS.
THE law concerning the revocation of a will is quite nice and technical. A codicil, we have seen, does not revoke, and a new will does. So might tearing off the name; but then the question might come, who tore it off? It is better to leave nei ther this nor any other question: and therefore to destroy a will which it is intended to revoke. If the will is out of the testator's reach and power, and so cannot be destroyed, it would be best to make a new will, revoking the old one; which any testator can always do.
A will is revoked by the operation of law, if the testator afterwards marry and have a child. If the testator, after this, intends that his will shall take effect, he should expressly con. firm it; and the correct way to do this would be by making a new will. If he leaves anything to his wife, and intends that she should have it instead of dower, or of the additional rights which recent statutes in some of the States have given her, he should say so. And then she will not have both, but may choose between the provision of the law and that of the will, taking whichever she prefers, and leaving the other.
For the rights of the wife or widow in the several States, 1 refer back to the abstract of the statutes of the several States, in Chapter V.
Annexed to this chapter is an abstract of the laws of all the States relating to wills.
It is impossible to do more than to give such forms and rules as will be applicable to all wills, and enable any person to draw a simple will with safety. No one can express accurately provisions for trust estates, remainders, executory devises, etc., without knowing the law on these subjects—and this is an extensive and difficult department of the law. All that is necessary, and may be relied upon as generally sufficient, is as follows:
Form of a Will.
L ¿place and occupation), make this my last will. I give, devise, bequeath my estate and property, real and personal, as follows, that is to say:
Then follow all the provisions and disposition of property which the testator intends, stated fully, plainly, and as accurately as possible, paying due regard to the rules and principles laid down in the chapter of this book on this subject. And if these provisions are carefully presented in distinct and intelligible language, the courts will generally supply whatever of technicality is wanting. Then follows, first, the appointment of an executor, and then the execution, and finally the declaration of the witnesses, thus:
I appoint (name, residence, and occupation) executor (or executors if more than one be desired) of this my will.
In witness whereof, I have signed and sealed and published and declared this instrument as my will, at (place), on (date).
at said (place), on said (day), signed and sealed this instrument, and published and declared the same as and for his last will in our presence. And we, at his request, and in his presence, and in the presence of each other, have hereunto written our names as subscribing witnesses.
(Here follow the names of three witnesses.)
A codicil should be written thus:
I, of (place and occupation), do make this my codicil, hereby confirming my last will made on the (date of the will), and all my former codicils (if there be any), so far as this codicil is consistent therewith; and do hereby―
Then follows whatever disposition the testator chooses to make, stating and describing it as he would if it were a will, and executing it, and having it attested in the same manner as if it were a will, excepting that, instead of calling it a will, wherever that word occurs, he says, "codicil" instead of "will." If he gives in his will or codicil a legacy to a woman, it is generally best to add "this legacy (or bequest) to be for her sole and separate use, independent of her husband, at all times.
Copy of a fuller Form of a Will.
in the city of
Be it Remembered, That I, State of Esquire, do make this my last will and testament, in manner following. That is to say,—
I order and direct that all my just debts shall be paid with convenient speed.
I give unto Mr. of said city, merchant, the amount of moneys due and owing from him to me, according to the tenor and effect of four promissory notes signed by him, viz: one dated October 16, 1819, for ninetysix hundred and eighty dollars; one dated August 9, 1822, for five thousand dollars; another dated August 9, 1822, for forty-five hundred and fifty-eight dollars; and another dated August 15, 1822, for fifty-six hundred dollars; and I order said four notes to be cancelled.
Το the wife of said I give an annuity of six hundred dollars, to be paid her in two equal and half-yearly payments of three hundred dollars each.
It is my will, and I order and direct that a trust fund of ten thousand dollars shall be raised out of my estate and invested at interest, the income and produce of which trust fund I give unto of
single woman, to be paid to her half-yearly, during her natural life. And at the decease of the said the principal sum or trust fund shall be paid to and among such person and persons in such shares and portions as she, the said by any writing by her signed in the presence of two or more credible witnesses, shall give, direct, and appoint. And in default of such appointment, then said trust fund, or principal sum shall go, as the residue of my estate, to the residuary legatee hereinafter named.
I also direct that another trust fund of ten thousand dollars shall be raised out of my estate and invested at interest. And I give the interest and produce of this trust fund, when and as it accrues, unto the wife of . It is my will that the income of this fund, or principal sum shall, during the natural life of said either be paid into her proper hand, or upon her order or receipt, signed by her alone, notwithstanding her coverture. And I declare that neither the principal nor income of this fund shall be subject to the control, debts or engagements of the present or any future husband of said the same being intended
for her sole and separate use.
At the decease of said
to the issue of said
I give said principal sum or trust fund and in default thereof to such other person or persons as she, by a last will, or any writing in the nature of a last will, shall give, direct, or appoint the same; and in default of such appointment, it is my will that said trust fund or principal sum shall be disposed of and pass as part of the residue of my estate.
I give to an annuity of three hundred dollars, to be paid by two equal sums to said half-yearly, during her natural life.
in the County of
widow, I give
an annuity of one hundred dollars, to be paid her, during life, in quarteryearly payments.
in the County of
I also give unto widow, an annuity of two hundred dollars, to be paid in quarter-yearly pay. ments during her life.
I order my executor, hereinafter named, to pay
either in money, or such articles as his comfortable maintenance may require, fifty dollars annually during his life, at such times as said executor shall think proper.
I give an annuity of
one hundred dollars, to be paid during her life quarterly. To wife of of I give three hundred dollars, and direct three notes, held by me, signed by her husband, for one hundred dollars each, to be cancelled.
Το wife of of there shall be paid in money, or delivered in articles necessary for her support, at the discretion of the executor of this my will, one hundred and fifty dollars annually, during her life, at such time and in such portions as he shall choose.
I give to
one thousand dollars, and order that he shall be charged with such amount of moneys as he shall be my debtor for, upon promissory notes at my decease. I devise the wood-lot in wife of
which I bought of one
above named, to hold to her for life, the remainder I give to the child or children of said who shall survive her, his, her, or their heirs for ever.
If shall be a member of my family at the time of my decease, she shall and may continue to reside in my dwelling-house and participate in the use of the stores and furniture, in common with others of my family, for the term of six months thereafter.
It is my will that a debt of three hundred and thirty-two dollars, due me of shall be cancelled. To each of those of the following named persons who shall be in my service at the time of my decease, I give one hundred dollars, viz:
My will is that all annuities herein before given shall take date from the day of the probate of this will; and all legacies, not annuities, shall be paid within eight months from the same period.
It is my will that all the capital or principal sums which shall be requisite to yield the several annuities above mentioned may, by my executor, be paid to be held and managed by said corporation as trustees under this will; or, if the said executor and the parties beneficially interested therein shall so elect, said capital or principal sums, or any of them, may be placed in the hands of such trustee or trustees as shall, upon application to the Supreme Court of sitting in chancery, be appointed to receive the same, and perform this, my will, in that behalf.
I hereby authorize and empower whoever shall assume the execution or this will, to make sale of, and convey any parcel or parcels of real estate, of which I may die seized, for the purpose of raising any and all such sums of money as shall be required for the trust funds, annuities, and legacies hereinbefore directed to be created, given, and bequeathed. Alt such sales shall be made by public vendue, after notice thereof shall have been given in two or more newspapers printed in the city of for the teri of fourteen days at least prior to such sales being made.
All the residue of my estate, real, personal, and mixed, wheresoever it may be found, and of whatsoever it may consist, I give and devise unto to hold to him and his heirs forever.
I hereby revoke all wills by me heretofore made, and constitute the said executor of this my last vill.
In Witness Whereof, I, the above-named my hand and seal, this twenty-sixth day of nineteen hundred and
testator, have hereunto set in the year of our Lord
[L. S.] the testator,
Then and there signed, sealed, and pablished by as and for his last will, in the presence of us, who, at his request, in his presence, and in presence of each other, have hereto set our names as wit
ABSTRACT OF THE LAWS OF ALL THE STATES AND TERRITORIES CONCERNING WILLS.
ALABAMA.—Every person of full age and sound mind may make a will. It must be in writing, signed by the testator, attested by at least two witnesses in the presence of the testator. Persons of the age of eighteen may dispose of personal property by will.
ALASKA. Persons of full age and of sound mind may make a will disposing of real and personal property. It must be in writing, signed by the testator, or at his direction and in his presence, and attested by two competent witnesses subscribing their names in the testator's presence.
ARIZONA.—Every person of full age or married may make a will. It must be in writing, signed by the testator and attested and subscribed in his presence by two or more witnesses above the age of fourteen -ears. If wholly written by the testator no witnesses are necessary.