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This compilation of Statutes includes only those relating to the power to make wills, the method of making and revoking wills, and to exceptional wills, together with all other matter that may be incorporated in those chapters of the various States which are devoted to the general subject of the making of wills. Statutes which especially relate to executors and administrators, the probate of wills, and the descent and distribution of property are not included. Those New York Statutes which limit the amount to be devised to certain corporations, associations, etc., are also omitted.
THE STATUTE OF WILLS.
7° Gul. IV. & 1° Vict. A. D. 1837 CAP. XXVI.
AN ACT FOR THE AMENDMENT OF THE LAWS
WITH RESPECT TO WILLS. (30 JULY, 1837.) Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the Authority of the same, That the Words and Expressions hereinafter mentioned, which in their ordinary Signification have a more confined or a different Meaning, shall in this Act, except where the Nature of the Provision of the Context of the Act shall exclude such Construction, be interpreted as follows; (that is to say,) the Word “ Will ” shall extend to a Testament, and to a Codicil, and to an Appointment by Will, or by Writing in the Nature of a Will in exercise of a Power, and also to a Disposition by Will and Testament or Devise of the Custody and Tuition of any Child, by virtue of an Act passed in the Twelfth Year of the Reign of King Charles the Second, intituled An Act for taking awry the Court of Wards and Liveries, and Tenures in capite and by Knights Service, and Purveyance, and for settling a Revenue upon His Majesty in lieu thereof, or by virtue of an Act passed in the Parliament of Irelind in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Years of the Reign of King Charles the Second, intituled An Act for taking away the Court of Words and Liveries, and Tenu res in capite and by Knights Service, and to any other Testamentary Disposition; and the Words “Real Estate" shall extend to Manors, Advowsons, Messuages, Lands, Tithes, Rents, and Hereditaments, whether Freehold, Customary Freehold, Tenant Right, Customary or Copyhold, or of any other Tenure, and whether corporeal, incorporeal, or personal, and to any undivided Share thereof, and to any Estate, Right, or Interest (other than a Chattel Interest) therein ; and the Words “ Personal Estate” shall extend to Leasehold Estates and other Chattels Real, and also to: Monies, Shares of Government and other Funds, Securities for Money (not being Real Estates), Debts, Choses in Action, Rights, Credits, Goods, and all other Property whatsoever which by Law devolves upon the Executor or Administrator, and to any Share or Interest therein; and every Word importing the Singular Number only shall extend and be applied to several Persons or Things as well as to One Person or Thing; and every Word importing the Masculine Gender only shall extend and be applied to a Female as well as a Male.
II. And be it further enacted, That an Act passed in the Thirtysecond Year of the Reign of King Henry the Eighth, intituled The Act of Wills, Wards, and Primer Seisins, whereby a Man may devise Two Parts of his Land; and also an Act passed in the Thirty-fourth and Thirty-fifth Years of the Reign of the said King Henry the Eighth, intituled The Bill concerning the Explanation of Wills, and also an Act passed in the Parliament of Ireland, in the Tenth Year of the Reign of King Charles the First, intituled An Act how Lands, Tenements, etc. may be disposed by Will or otherwise, and concerning Wards and Primer Seisins; and also so much of an Act passed in the Twenty-ninth Year of the Reign of King Charles the Second, intituled An Act for Prevention of Frauds and Perjuries, and of an Act passed in the Parliament of Ireland in the Seventh Year of the Reign of King William the Third, intituled An Act for Prevention of Frauds and Perjuries, as relates to Devises or Bequests of Lands or Tenements, or to the Revocation or Alteration of any Devise in Writing of any Lands, Tenements, or Hereditaments, or any Clause thereof, or to the Devise of any Estate pur autre vie, or to any such Estate being Assets, or to Nuncupative Wills, or to the repeal, altering, or changing of any Will in Writing concerning any Goods or Chattels or Personal Estate, or any Clause, Devise, or Bequest therein; and also so much of an Act passed in the Fourth and Fifth Years of the Reign of Queen Anne, intituled An Act for the Amendment of the Law, and the better Advancement of Justice, and of an Act passed in the Parliament of Ireland, in the Sixth Year of the Reign of Queen Anne, intituled An Act for the Amendment of the Law,and The Better Advancement of Justice, as relates to Witnesses to Nuncupative Wills; and also so much of an Act passed in the Fourteenth Year of the Reign of King George the Second, intituled An Act to amend the Law concerning Common Recovries, and to explain and amend an Act made in the Twenty-ninth Year of the Reign of King Charles the Second, intituled 'An Act for Prevention of Frauds and Perjuries,' as relates to Estates pur autre vie; and also an Act passed in the Twenty-fifth Year of the Reign of King George the Second, intituled An Act for avoiding and putting an end to certain Dounts and Questions relating to the Attestation of Wills and Codicils concerning Real Estates in that Part of Great Britain called England, and in His Majesty's Colonies and Plantations in America except so far as relates to His Majesty's Colonies and Plantations in America ; and also an Act passed in the Parliament of Ireland in the same Twenty-fifth Year of the Reign of King George the Second, intituled An Act for the avoiding and putting an end to certain Doubts and Questions relating to the Attestations of Wills and Codicils concerning Real Estates; and also an Act passed in the Fifty-fifth Year of the Reign of King George the Third, intituled An Act to remove certain Difficulties in the Disposition of Copyhold Estates by Will, shall be and the same are hereby repealed, except so far as the same Acts or any of them respectively relate to any Wills or Estatęs pur autre vie to which this Act does not extend.
III. And be it further enacted, That it shall be lawful for every Person to devise, bequeath, or dispose of, by his Will executed in manner herein-after required, all Real Estate and all Personal Estate which he shall be entitled to, either at Law or in Equity, at the Time of his Death, and which if not so devised, bequeathed or disposed of would devolve upon the Heir at Law, or Customary Heir of him, or, if he became entitled by Descent, of his Ancestor, or upon his Executor or Administrator; and that the Power hereby given shall extend to all Real Estate of the Nature of Customary Freehold or Tenant Right, or Customary or Copyhold, notwithstanding that the Testator may not have surrendered the same to the Use of his Will, or notwithstanding that, being entitled as Heir, Devisee, or otherwise to be admitted thereto, he shall not have been admitted thereto, or notwithstanding that the same, in consequence of the Want of a Custom to devise or surrender to the Use of a Will or otherwise, could not at Law have been disposed of by Will if this Act had not been made, or notwithstanding that the same, in consequence of there being a Custom that a Will or a Surrender to the Use of a Will should continue in force for a limited Time only, or any other special Custom, could not have been disposed of by Will according to the Power contained in this Act, if this Act had not been made ; and also to Estates pur autre vie, whether there shall or shall not