Wills: Revocation by Other Writing

E. C. G.
1920 Michigan law review  
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more » ... out Early Journal Content at http://about.jstor.org/participate--jstor/individuals/early-journal--content. JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not--for--profit organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. NOTE AND COMMENT WILILS.-REVOCATION BY OTHER WRITING.-The right to dispose of property by will is a creation of the positive law. In re Tyner's Estate, 97 Minn. I8I. It is not a natural right and hence is effective only when exercised in strict accord with the provisions of the law. Crain v. Crain, I7 Tex. 80. So accustomed are we to disposal of property by will that we may not be surprised to find some courts even regarding this right as one of the "inherent incidents of human existence," as a "right absolute," which legislatures cannot "unreasonably regulate to destroy," nor "courts deal with in any spirit of mere discretion." Ball v. Boston, 153 Wis. 27. Whether or no, as recent writers have concluded, wills as we employ them were first developed in Rome, certain it is that the right to dispose of property by will has been of very gradual development at the common law, and has been and is almost wholly regulated by statute. Until STAT. 32 HENRY VIII, c. i, there could be no real will of realty, though by means of uses equity had opened a way to accomplish much the same result. This first great statute of wills merely gave the power, but did not prescribe the form of the writing. It was not until the Statute of Frauds in I66o that any special form of execution was required, and then only in the case of the disposition of real property. In this statute, too, we find for the first time fixed requirements for the revocation of a will, viz., by some other will, or by some other writing, or by designated acts upon the will the testator desires to revoke. As to these requirements, and their curious extension by the courts, even contrary to the statute, see 17 MICH. L. R-V. 33I. The third great wills act in England, I VrIC. c. 26,
doi:10.2307/1277569 fatcat:sriglglqargzpjhlnlmbszon6m