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MAKING AND PROVING WILLS
OBTAINING GRANTS OF LETTERS OF
IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ACTS OF PARLIAMENT
AND RULES OF LAW;
FORMS OF AFFIDAVITS USED IN THE REGISTRIES
HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE;
OF THE LEGACY AND SUCCESSION DUTY OFFICE,
24, BIRCHIN LANE.
Since the publication, in the years 1859 and 1860, of my father's two works, “ Plain Directions for Making Wills," and “The Executor's Guide,” so many changes have taken place, not only in the law, but in the practice of the Probate Court, that I am induced to believe the information contained in the present volume will not be considered a work of supererogation.
I am aware that there are many treatises on these subjects, varying in size and importance between the well-known work of Mr. Vaughan Williams and those by other writers of less note; but I still venture to hope that the information contained in this volume will be found useful, and sufficiently practical in character to be acceptable to the general practitioner.
The manner in which I have treated the two subjects somewhat resembles in plan my former work, “The Practical Guide to the Payment of Legacy and Succession Duties ;"> and although forming the subject of separate works by my father, I have thought it more convenient to combine them especially as they are so intimately connected.
I take this opportunity of thanking Mr. Layton, who assisted me in my former work, for many valuable hints which I have taken advantage of in the composition of this volume.
In conclusion, I beg leave to assure the reader that no pains have been spared to make the work perfect as a “ Practical Guide;" but, at the same time, should any member of the profession be induced to offer any suggestions for improvement, they will be received with every consideration.
LEGACY DUTY OFFICE,
1st September, 1876.
It will always be a question whether that is the better law which enables a man to leave the whole of his property in any way he may think proper, as in this country; or that which restricts him to the disposition of part of it only, as in France, where no one is allowed to disinherit his child or leave his wife to the cold charity of her friends. Whatever opinion may be entertained on this point, it is evidently to the advantage of society in this country that persons should avail themselves of this unrestricted privilege rather than idly leave the division of their property to the operation of the law. It is true that, in some few instances, cases of hardship, and even cruelty, have occurred from the abuse of this privilege ; but, upon the whole, it is manifest that much oftener have hardship and misery arisen from a man dying intestate, and thus (in consequence of the eldest son succeeding to his real estate as the heir-at-law) allowing the personal estate to be absorbed in the payment of his debts, leaving his widow and younger children totally unprovided for, than from gratifying his temper or exercising undue partiality by bequests in favour of one particular child.
It is not so very long ago that a man was considerably restricted in this country in the disposition of his property;