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on the paper, as witness or otherwise. Pricket's Estate (1852) 1 Phila. 306; Re Dombrowski (1912) 163 Cal. 290, Main v. Ryder (1877) 84 Pa. 217. 125 Pac. 233.

Washington.-Points v. Nier (1916) In a case wherein it appeared that 91 Wash. 20, 157 Pac. 44, Ann. Cas. a testator signed his name to the will, 1918A, 1046. and acknowledged it before the at- England. Wilson Beddard testing witnesses, who subscribed it as (1841) 12 Şim. 28, 59 Eng. Reprint, such, and the testator then placed a 1041, 10 L. J. Ch. N. S. 305, 5 Jur. mark between his Christian name and 624. surname, it was held that the plac- A will has been held to be properly ing of the mark was wholly unneces- executed where the testatrix, who had sary. Sechrest v. Edwards (1862) 4 dropped her pen, was assisted by her Met. (Ky.) 163.

attorney in making her mark, alWhen the testator signs the will by though in health she could write. Re making his mark, he signs and exe- Jernberg (Minn.) supra. See to the cutes the will himself, although his same effect, Re Golicki (1921) 116 name is subscribed by another at his Misc. 100, 190 N, Y. Supp. 266, where, request.

Re Clark (1915) 170 Cal. in addition, the testator's mark ap418, 149 Pac. 828; Points v. Nier peared, unaccompanied by his name. (1916) 91 Wash. 20, 157 Pac. 44, Ann. In Points v. Nier (Wash.) supra, it Cas. 1918A, 1046; Wilson v. Craig was held that the fact that a testa. (1915) 86 Wash. 465, 150 Pac. 1179, trix, who signed her name by mark, Ann. Cas. 1917B, 871. See also did so with assistance, did not make Campbell V. McGuiggan (1896) it the less her signature. N. J. —, 34 Atl. 383.

Pricket's Estate (1852) 1 Phila. In Flynn v. Flynn (1918) 283 Ill. (Pa.) 306, was decided under a pecu206, 119 N. E. 304, Ann. Cas. 1918E, liar statute providing that every will 1034, it seemed to be taken for granted should be in writing, and, unless the that a testator's mark was

à satis- person making the same should be factory signature to a will, the ques- prevented by the extremity of his tion being whether the signature was sickness, should be signed by the tessatisfactory where the attesting wit- tator at the end thereof, or by some nesses could not testify that the tes- person in his presence and by his extator made the mark himself. The press direction. There was held to be probate of the will was upheld.

no valid execution under such a statThe fact that a testator is aided in

ute, where the testator was able to directing the movements of his hand

indicate a desire to sign his will, and when his mark is made does not in

in accordance with this indication validate the execution of a will.

another guided his hand while he See Re Clark (1915) made his mark. Compare with Coz170 Cal. 418, 149 Pac. 828.

zens's Will (1869) 61 Pa. 196, and Re Jernberg (1922)

Main v. Ryder (Pa.) supra. 153 Minn, 458, 190 N. W. 990.

III. Signature by Christian name. See Campbell v. McGuiggan (1896)

A will signed by the Christian name N. J. –, 34 Atl. 303.

only may be valid, if it is sufficientNew York.

ly shown that the testator intended Van Hanswyck V.

it Wiese (1865) 44 Barb. 494; Re Golicki

a signature. Knox's Estate (1921) 116 Misc. 100, 190 N. Y. Supp.

(1890) 131 Pa. 220, 6 L.R.A. 353, 17 266. See also Jackson ex dem. Van

Am. St. Rep. 798, 18 Atl. 1021, whereDusen v. Van Dusen (1809) 5 Johns.

in it appeared that the will was writ144, 4 Am. Dec. 330.

ten in the form of a letter, and, while

addressed to no one, was apparently Pennsylvania.

Vandruff v. Rine- intended for the testatrix's mother; hart (1857) 29 Pa. 232 (no request and it further appeared that the for assistance necessary); Cozzens's testatrix lived apart from her husWill (1869) 61 Pa. 196, overruling band, and had a repugnance to using



New Jersey.


his name. The court, in discussing Christian name, and it was held to be the question what is a sufficient signa- a valid signature. ture, said: “So the form which a In Wells v. Lewis (1921) 190 Ky. man customarily uses to identify and 626, 228 S. W. 3, a letter signed “Ant bind himself in writing is his signa- nanie” was admitted to probate as the ture, whatever shape he may choose will of Aunt Nannie Rodgers. to give it. There is no requirement A letter signed “Ed.” was held to that it shall be legible, though legibil- possess a signature sufficient for a ity is one of the prime objects of testamentary instrument, in Barnes v. writing. It is sufficient if it be such Horne (1921)

Tex. Civ. App. —, as he usually signs; and the signature 233 S. W. 859. of neither Rufus Choate nor General As to the sufficiency of a signaSpinner could be rejected, though no ture by the Christian name alone, unman, unaided, could discover what der the civil law, see the discussion the ragged marks made by either of and citations in Bradford's Succession those two eminent personages were (1909) 124 La. 44, 49 So. 972, 18 Ann. intended to represent. Nor is there Cas. 766. any fixed requirement how much of

IV. Signature by initials, the full name shall be written. Custom varies with time and place, and It has been held that a will is sufhabit with the whim of the individ- ficiently signed by the initials of the ual. Sovereigns write only their first testator if he intends his initials to be names, and the Sovereign of Spain, his signature. In Savory's Goods more royally still, signs his decrees (1851) 15 Jur. (Eng.) 1042. See Mconly, 'I the King' (Yo el Rey). Eng- Bride v. McBride, 26 Gratt. (Va.) lish peers now sign their titles only, 476. A seal with the testator's initials though they be geographical names, engraved thereon was held to be a like Devon or Stafford, as broad as a sufficient signature in Emerson's county. The great Bacon wrote his Goods (1882) Ir. Rep. 9 C. L. 443. name, ‘Fr. Verulam,' and the ordinary In Pilcher v. Pilcher (1915) 117 signature of the poet philosopher of Va. 356, L.R.A.1915D, 903, 84 S. E. fishermen was ‘Iz: Wa:' In the 667, the validity of a holographic fifty-six signatures to the most solemn will, at the end of which the writer, instrument of modern times, the Dec- in order to authenticate the paper, laration of Independence, we find had attached his initials by way of every variety from 'Th. Jefferson,' to signature, instead of his full name, the unmistakably identified 'Charles was upheld. The court said: "Va. Carroll of Carrollton.' In the present Code 1904, § 2514, reads as follows: day it is not uncommon for business 'No will shall be valid unless it be men to have a signature for checks in writing and signed by the testator, and banking purposes somewhat dif-, or by some other person in his presferent from that used in their ordina- ence and by his direction, in such ry business; and in familiar corre- manner as to make it manifest that spondence signature by initials, or the name is intended as a signature; nickname, or diminutive is probably and moreover, unless it be wholly the general practice. What, there- written by the testator, the signature fore, shall constitute a sufficient sig- shall be made or the will acknowlnature must depend largely on the edged by him in the presence of at custom of the time and place, the least two competent witnesses, preshabit of the individual, and the cir- ent at the same time; and such witcumstances of each particular case.” nesses shall subscribe the will in the

In Cartwright v. Cartwright (1923) presence of the testator, but no 158 Ark. 278, 250 S. W. 11, involving form of attestation shall be necesthe probate of a letter offered as a sary. It will be observed that the testamentary instrument, the signa- statute makes no distinction in the ture was simply “Lus.," an abbrevi- character of the signature, or what ated form of Luster, the writer's constitutes a sufficient signature, be

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tween holograph and attested wills. to make my will;' and after it was It gives precisely the same force and written, holding the paper up, he said: effect to the former that it accords "Girls, this is my will. I have left to the latter. By force of the statute Allie everything I have.' In response one is made the equivalent of the to Mrs. Wood's comment

on the other, though the manner of proving brevity of the document, he remarked, the two kinds of instruments is dif- “The shorter, the better.' When she ferent; nevertheless, each possesses called attention to the use of his the same authenticity. Now all the initials, he replied, 'Why, that is as authorities, English and American good a will as any man can make; (including the quære in McBride v. that will hold in any court-almost McBride (Va.) supra), agree that, if a mark will go, Bell.' He then said to this will had been attested, it would Mrs. Woods: 'I want you to preserve have been well signed under the Eng- this. That is my will. I have left lish statute. Therefore, being holo


everything to Alice. I want you to graph, it must follow that it is well see that she takes care of it.' This signed under the Virginia statute, evidence, and it is uncontradicted, since that statute does not require plainly establishes testamentary inattestation in such case. Nor does tent, and that the initials were used the Virginia statute define what shall animo signandi. . We entertain constitute a 'signature, but only no doubt, either from the standpoint prescribes that the will shall be of reason or authority, that the signed 'in such manner as to make it writing in controversy was executed manifest that the name is intended as in substantial compliance with the a signature.'

No dictionary, statute, and, as the chancery court so far as we are advised, restricts held, is the true last will and testathe meaning of 'signature' to a written ment of Edwin Pilcher, deceased.” name; therefore, according to these In the case of Re Severance (1916) definitions, what constitutes a signa- 96 Misc. 384, 161 N. Y. Supp. 452, ture must largely depend upon the it appeared that at the foot of the circumstances of each particular case, printed form of will used by the testathough in all cases the intent is a tor there was a dotted line, followed vital factor. Whatever symbol is em- by the letters "L. S.” in brackets, ployed, it must appear that it 'is in- and intended for his signature. But; tended as a signature.' Although, as instead of signing it, the testator, remarked, there is no decision of this near the end of the line and partialcourt directly in point, authority in ly covering the initials “L. S.," this country is abundant for the prop- affixed a wafer seal, printed in colors osition that the use of his initials and containing the inscription, "Merby a testator animo signandi is a ry Christmas. American Red Cross. sufficient signing of his name.

1912 Happy New Year," and wrote on Adverting for a moment to the facts: this seal the inscription, "C S Seal We have before us a paper which, CS.” The court said: “If the testhough exceedingly brief, is distinctly tator intended this holiday seal with testamentary in character and terms, his inscription upon it as a signature, and by which the disposition of the and adopted it as such, I think it property, in the circumstances, was satisfies the requirements of the stata natural one. Testator was a lawyer ute that a will must be subscribed in full possession of his mental by the testator. It is well settled that faculties, and there is no question a subscription by making a mark, that the paper was wholly written and without any written name, is a by him, and signed with his initials compliance with the requirements of at the appropriate place for his sig- the statute (Jackson Jackson nature—the end of the instrument. (1868) 39 N. Y. 153), and it would Immediately before the paper was seem logical to say that a signature written, testator said to his wife and by initials is entitled to as much reher sister, Mrs. Woods, 'I am going spect as a signature by mark.

31 A.L.R.-44.

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It is a debatable question, incapable of exact solution, whether the testator intended to adopt this seal with this inscription as his signature, or whether he intended it as a seal only, and neglected to sign his name. The disposition which the testator has attempted to make of his property is such a natural one, and the proofs are so clear that he intended this document as a testamentary disposition of his property, that I feel that the surrogate should not be astute to search for reasons for rejecting this will, but, on the other hand, should strive to sustain it, especially where the interested parties, all being of full age, raise no objections. I therefore hold that the testator adopted this seal and his indorsement upon it as a signature.”

Under an English statute (Wills Act, § 21) providing that interlineations or alterations made in a will are not valid unless executed in the same manner as is required for the execution of a will, and that a will with alterations as a part thereof will be deemed to be duly executed if the signature of the testator and the subscription of the witnesses are made in the margin, it has been held that where two interlineations were introduced into a will after execution and attestation, and the testatrix signed with her initials in the margin against the interlineations, and the witnesses subscribed their initials in attestation of this signature of the testator, the signature and subscription by initials only were sufficient. Blewitt's Goods (1880) L. R. 5 Prob. Div. (Eng.) 116, 49 L. J. Prob. N. S. 31, 42 L. T. N. S. 329, 28 Week. Rep. 520, 44 J. P. 768.

A will has been admitted to probate where it was signed so that the initials of the Christian name and surname were plainly written in ink, and the remaining letters of the full name could be seen somewhat indistinctly impressed on the paper by the pen, without any ink marks whatever. Upon examining with a magnifying glass, the full name could be distinctly seen, the initials being in ink and the remaining letters being impressed

on the paper by the pen without ink. Re Jakob (1888) 21 W. N. C. (Pa.) 510.

For a discussion of the civil law on the question of signing by initials, see Bradford's Succession (1909) 124 La. 44, 49 So. 972, 18 Ann. Cas. 766.

V. Signature by wrong name. Where a woman, who had been married a second time, signed a will by the name of her first husband, it was held that the will was valid. In Glover's Goods (1847) 11 Jur. (Eng.) 1022, 5 Notes of Cases, 553. In the case of Redding's Goods (1850) 14 Jur. 1052, 2 Rob. Eccl. Rep. 339, 163 Eng. Reprint, 1338, it appeared that the testator requested a friend to draw up her will, which he did, describing her as "C. Higgins," and that the will was duly executed. Some years later the testator, having, without any assigned reason, changed her name to Redding, requested the person who drew the will to change it, so far as regarded her name. The name "Higgins" was changed to “Redding” in the body of the will, and the attestation clause and the signature were erased with a knife in the presence of the testator and the subscribed witnesses, after which the testator signed the will “C. Redding," but the witnesses, though present, did not again sign. It was held that the facts showed that there was tention of revoking the will, and that, as the second signature had not been attested, probate must pass on the will as originally executed.

In a case wherein it appeared that a will was in proper form as a nuncupative testament by public act, it

ld that the testator's signature by an assumed name was a sufficient descriptio personæ, he having assumed the name by which he signed the will for political reasons, and being generally known in the city in which he resided by that name. Balot y Ripoll v. Moriña (1846) 12 Rob. (La.) 552, 14 Prob. Rep. Ann. 402, note.

Using a wrong name where the signature is by mark is considered under II., supra.

no in


In the construction of the wili of sealing is not signing. Smith v. a testator of German nationality, who Evans (1751) 1 Wils. 313, 95 Eng. had changed his name when he came Reprint, 636; Ellis v. Smith (1754) to America, it was urged that a devise 1 Ves. Jr. 11, 30 Eng. Reprint, 205; in remainder to “the lawful heirs of Wright v. Wakeford (1811) 17 Ves. Charles F. Tyler in the United States Jr. 454, 34 Eng. Reprint, 176. In of America, or the lawful heirs of Smith v. Evans (Eng.) supra, the Carl F. Theilig, formerly of Noulitz, court, in speaking of the case of Saxon Altenburg," being in the alter- Lemayne v. Stanley (Eng.) supra, native, was void. Tyler. v. Theilig which held that sealing was signing, (1905) 124 Ga. 204, 52 S. E. 606. In said: “That ‘putting a seal to a will holding that these names were in- is a sufficient signing within the tended for the same person and used Statute of Frauds and Perjuries' is for purposes of identification mere- very strange doctrine; for that, if it ly, the court held the devise in re- was so, it would be very easy for mainder to be good, and added that one person to forge any man's will, this idea was further borne out by by only forging the names of any the fact that the testator signed the two obscure persons dead, for he will by using both names. It does would have no occasion to forge the not appear in the body of the opinion testator's hand. And the barons said, that any question was raised with if the same thing should come in respect to the signature as rendering question again, they should not hold the will invalid, but in the syllabus, that sealing a will, only, was a sufwhich was prepared by the court, ficient signing within the statute." it is stated that a signature by using It has been held that the impress both names does not render a devise of his notarial seal by a testator who in remainder void.

was a notary public was a sufficient

signature to his will. Re Wilson VI. Signature by stamp.

(1914) N. S. --, 19 D. L. R. 698. Where the signature was made by

And see the case of Re Severance means of a rubber stamp used by an

(1916) 96 Misc. 384, 161 N. Y. Supp. other at the direction of the testator,

452, cited supra, IV. it was held to be a good signature under a statute which allowed a will

VIII. Misspelled signature. to be signed by another person in the The holding in Bradford's Succespresence and by direction of the tes

sion (1909) 124 La. 44, 49 So. 972, 18 tator. Jenkins v. Gaisford (1863)

Ann. Cas. 766, to the effect that a will 9 Jur. N. S. 630, 3 Swabey & T. 93, is valid, although the name of the 164 Eng. Reprint, 1208, 32 L. J. Prob.

testator is misspelled, where it is plain N. S. 122, 8 L. T. N. S. 517, 11 Week.

that the name written was intended Rep. 854. See Jenkyns's Goods (1863)

for the testator's name, is in accord 9 Jur. N. S. (Eng.) 311, 32 L. J. Prob.

with Word Whipps (1894) 16 N. S. 71, 11 Week. Rep. 501.

Ky. L. Rep. 403, 28 S. W. 151. The VII. Serling as signing.

contention in that case was that the In some of the early English cases name of the testator was not subit was held that a sealing was a suf- scribed to his will as the statute reficient signing, under a statute requir- quired, for the reason that, when he ing a will to be signed by the testa- attempted to sign his name thereto, tor. Lemayne v. Stanley (1681) 3 he wrote “A. J. Whpps," instead of Lev. 1, 83 Eng. Reprint, 545; Warne

"A. J. Whipps." The court said: ford v. Warneford (1727) 2 Strange, “There is no intimation of fraud, or 764, 93 Eng. Reprint, 834; Lee v. any circumstance attending the execuLibb (1688) 1 Shower, K. B. 69, 89 tion of the paper casting a suspicion Eng. Reprint, 454. See Emerson's on the transaction. It is manifest Goods (1882) Ir. Rep. 9 C. L. 443. that the omission of the letter 'I' was But this rule has been changed by merely an oversight, and we do not later English cases, which hold that think that, because there is some dif


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