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In Pennsylvania no subscribing witnesses are required, provided the signature to the will can be proved by the oaths of two respectable witnesses.
A will may be revoked at ar.y time by the testator, and another made, either by himself or in his presence, and by his direction. . If the testator has made other wills, it is proper to say, “Hereby revoking all former wills,” &c.
Witnesses should be selected with care, for if any question should arise in reference to the testator's sanity, or any other difficulty, their evidence would be the first take..
No person who is a legatee should be called upon to witness & will, or an executor, or any person interested in the will.
Witnesses should always write their respective places of residence after their name. Every person who shall sign the testator's name to a will by his direction, must write his own name as a witness to the will in the presence of two other witnesses.
Nuncupative (unwritten) wills are always unsafe; and, al. though they are legal under any circumstances, they rarely fai) to leave room for troublesome and expensive litigation.
Marriage and the birth of a child after the execution of a will imply a revocation of such will, of real and personal property, provided such wife and child were unprovided for ; but in case the wife and child are provided for, by settlement or otherwise, the will is good.
The will of a single woman is annulled in law by her mar riage. But a woman may make a deed of settlement of her es tate before marriage which shall em power her to retain her right to make a will after marriage.
A sale of, or an agreement to sell, property devised in a will, is a legal revocation of such will.
Children born after the execution of a will, and not provided for by settlement, are entitled, at the death of the testator, to such share of the property as they would have had if no will had been made.
Any provision made in a will for the wife of the testator will not exclude her legal claim to dower also, unless such provision be expressly stated to be in lieu of dower.
A devise to a subscribing witness is void ; but such devise does not affect the validity of the will itself.
The term heirs, or other words of inheritance, may be used in a will, but they are not called for by law.
Property may not be devised to a corporation, unless such corporation is authorized by its charter to receive bequests by will.
Bequests of property to aliens not authorized by law to hold property are void.
Incumbrances upon a testator's real or personal estate does not affect the validity of his will; but the devises and legacies therein are subject to such incumbrance.
All debts and other incumbrances must be settled previous to the distribution of the gifts to the devisees (the parties to whom the bequests are made).
The authenticity of a will must be proved before the Surrogate of the county in which it is made; should the decision of the Surrogate be unsatisfactory to the parties interested, an appeal may be made by all or either of them to the circuit judge of the Circuit Court; should the decision of the latter be equally unsatisfactory, an appeal may be made to the Court of Chancery; in case this should also be unsatisfactory, further appeal may be made to the Supreme Court, whose decision is final; a record of which decision must then be made by the Surrogate. The cost and expenses of such appeal must be paid by the party or parties appealing, in case of his or their failure to impeach the validity of the will; but if he or they succeed in impeaching the will, the costs must be paid by the contesting party, either personally or out of the effects of the deceased.
No person can be an executor of a will who, at the time the will is proved, is either an alien, under twenty-one years of age, a drunkard, a convict, or deficient in understanding.
An executor of a will may renounce such appointment by an instrument signed before two witnesses, which instrument must be recorded by the Surrogate before whom the will was proved. Should all the executors refuse to serve, then power shall be granted to the residuary legatees, or some one of them, to act in their place; if the legatees will not serve, then to the widow and next of kin, if there be any; if none, then to any creditor of the testator; if none, then to the public administrator.
In case a man should die intestate (without leaving a will) power to administer bis property shall be granted in the following order: 1st, to the widow; should there be none, tben, 2d, to the sons; should there be none, then, 3d, to the father ; 4th, to the brothers; 5th, to the sisters; 6th, to the grandchildren; 7th, to any other of the next of kin. If any of the persons so entitled are minors, then to their guardians; if the relatives or guardians will not accept, then to the creditors of the deceased, the creditor first applying, if otherwise competent, to have the preference.
In case a married woman should die intestate, ner husband is entitled to administer her property in preference to all other persons, provided be be of sound mind. He is liable for her debts only to the extent of the assests received by him.
In New York and some other States, if a married woman who bolds real estate in her own name, dies without making a will, her real estate, if she leaves children, goes to them, but the husband has a life interest in the use of it; but if she leaves no children, then the real estate goes to her heirs at law, of whom the husband is not one.
A Codicil Is an addition or supplement to a will, not revoking the existing will, but varying it in some way, or making changes in it. The original will must stand and will he recognized as the first disposition of the testator's wishes; but there may be several codicils, and all valid. The changes in a will by the codicil must be distinctly and clearly stated, and must be execute 1 with the same formality, that is, in the presence of the same number of witnesses.
A Will of Real Estate. The last will and testament of A. C., &c. I, A. C., considering the uncertainty of this mortal life, and being of sound mind and memory (blessed be Almighty God for the same!) do make and publish this my last will and testament, in manner and form following (that is to say) : First, I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife, J. C., the sum of Item, I give and bequeath to my eldest son, G. C., the sum of Item, I give and bequeath unto my two younger sons, J. C. and F. C., the sum of - each. Item, I give and bequeath to my daughter-in-law, S. H., widow, the sum of -; which said several legacies or sums of money.
I will and order to be paid to the said respective legatees, within six months after my decease. I further give and devise to my said eldest son G. C., his heirs and assigns, all that messuage or tonement, situated, lying, and being in, &c., together with all my other freehold estate whatsoever, to hold to him the said G. C, his heirs and assigns, forever. And I hereby give and bequeath to my said younger sons, J. C. and F. C., all my leasehold estate, of and in all those messuages or tenements, with the appurtenances, situ. ato, &c., equally to be divided between them. And lastly, as to all the rest, residue, and remainder of my personal estate, goods, and chattels, of what kind and nature soever, I give and bequeath the same to my said beloved wife, J. C., whom I hereby appoint solo executrix of this my last will and testament, hereby rovoking all former wills by me made. In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal, the day of in the year of our Lord one thousand
A.C. (L. s.) The above instrument, consisting of one sheet, (or, of two sheets,) was now here subscribed by A. C., the testator, in the presence of each of us; and was at the same time declared by him to be his last will and testament; and we, at his request, sign our names hereto, as attesting witnesses.
D. F., residing at in County
G. H., residing at in County. be attested by his acknowledgment in the following form.]
, it may The above instrument of one sheet (or, of two sheets) was, at the date thereof, declared to us by the testator, A.C., to be his last will and testament; and he then acknowledged to each of us,
that he had subscribed the same : and we, at his request, sign our names hereto as attosting witnesses. D. F., residing at in
County. G. H., residing at in County.
Codicil to a Will. WHEREAS I, A. C., of, &c., have made my last will and testa ment in writing, bearing date, &c., (and have thereby, &c. &c.) Now I do by this my writing, which I hereby declare to be a codicil to my said will, to be taken as a part thereof, (will and direct, &c. &c.,) give and bequeath to my niece M. S., one gold watch, ono large diamond ring, and one silver coffee-pot. And whereas, in n and by my last will and testament, I have given and bequeathed to my daughter-in-law G. H., the sum of I do hereby order and declare, that my will is that only the sum of anto her, in full of the said legacy I have as aforesaid giren and bequeathed unto her; and that the remaining part of the said legacy be giren and paid to my nephew E. G. And lastly, it is my desire that this my present codicil be annexed to, and made o part of my last will and testament, to all intents and purposes
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and soal, this — day of &c.
A. C. (L. 8.) The above instrument of one sheet was, at the date thereof, do olared to us by the testator, A. C., to be a codicil to be annexed to his last will and testament; and he acknowledged, to each of us that he had subscribed the same; and we, at his request, sign our names hereto as attesting witnesses. D. F., residing at
in County. G. H., residing at in
General Form, disposing of an Estate in Legacies. Know all men by these presents, that I, T. T., of —, in the county of and State of
gentleman, being in good health, (or, in ill health, as the case may be, and of sound and disposing mind and memory, do make and publish this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills by me at any time here. tofore made.
First. I hereby constitute and appoint my wife, E. T., to be sole executrix of this my last will, directing my said executrix to pay all my just debts and funeral expenses, and the legacies hereinafter given, out of my estate.
Second. After the payment of my said debts and funeral expen ses, I give to each of my children, T. H. T., E. A. T., M. P. T., and A. S. T., the sum of dollars, to be paid to each of them as soon after my decease, but within oro year, as conveniently may be done.
Third. And for the payment of the legacies aforesaid, I give and devise to my said executrix all the personal estate owned by me at my decease, (except my household furniture and wearing apparel,) and so much of my real estate as, when sold by leave of the court of probate, will be sufficient, in addition to the said personal estate herein given, to pay the said legacies.
Fourth. I give to my said executrix, all my household furniture and wearing apparel, for her sole use.
Fifth. I devise to my said executris all the rest and residue of my real estate, so long as she shall remain unmarried, and my widow, with remainder thereof, on her decease or marriage, to my said children and their heirs, respectively, share and share alike.
In testimony whereof, I hereunto set my hand and senl, and publish and declare this to be my last will and testament, in the presence of the witnesses Damed below, this
T. T (L. 8) This will must be attosted in the same manner as in the prece ding forms.
in the year