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make distribu- settling of intestates' estates," (2) be it declared by tion of the pere the authority aforesaid, That neither the said act, their wives. nor any thing therein contained, shall be construed

to extend to the estates of feine coverts that shall die intestate, but that their husbands may demand and have administration of their rights, credits, and other personal estates, and recover and enjoy the same, as they might have done before the making of the said act. Made perpetual by 1 Ja. 2. c. 17, s. 5.

25 Geo. 2. c. 6.

An Act for avoiding and putting an End to certain Doubts 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.

WHEREAS by an act made in the twenty-ninth year of the reign of his late Majesty King Charles the Second, intituled, “ An act for prevention of frauds and perjuries,” it is amongst other things enacted, that, from and after the twenty-fourth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and seventy-seven, all devises and bequests of any lands or tenements deviseable, either by force of the statute of wills, or by that statute, or by force of the custom of Kent, or the custom of any borough, or any other particular custom, shall be in writing, and signed by the party so devising the same, or by some other person in his presence, and by his express direction; and shall be attested and sub

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scribed in the presence of the said devisor, by three or four credible witnesses, or else they shall be utterly void and of none effect, which hath been found to be a wise and good provision : but whereas doubts have arisen who are to be deemed legal witnesses within the intent of the said act; therefore, for avoiding the same, be it enacted by the King'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 if any person shall if a devisee or attest the execution of any will or codicil which shall legatce under

the will attests be made after the twenty-fourth day of June, in the a will, the deviss year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and or legacy shall

be void, and the fifty-two, to whom any beneficial devise, legacy, attestation

effectual. estate, interest, gift, or appointment of or affecting any real or personal estate, other than and except charges on lands, tenements, or hereditaments, for payment of any debt or debts, shall be thereby given or made, such devise, legacy, estate, interest, gift, or appointment, shall, so far only as concerns such person attesting the execution of such will or codicil, or any person claiming under him, be utterly null and void ; and such person shall be admitted as a witness to the execution of such will or codicil, within the intent of the said act; notwithstanding such devise, legacy, estate, interest, gist, or appointment, mentioned in such will or codicil.

II. And be it further enacted by the authority If lands are aforesaid, That in case, by any will or codicil already charged with the made, or hercafter to be made, any lands, tenements, the attestation or hereditaments, are or shall be charged with any good, and he is a debt or debts, and any creditor whose debt is so good witness to charged, hath attested, or shall attest the execution prove the execuof such will or codicil, every such creditor, notwithstanding such charge, shall be admitted as a witness to the execution of such will or codicil, within the intent of the said act.

III. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any person hath attested the execution of any will or codicil already madc, or shall attest the execution of any will or codicil which shall be made on or before the said twenty-fourth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and fifty-two, to whom any legacy or bequest is or shall be thereby given, whether charged upon lands, tenements, or hereditaments, or not; and such person, before he shall give his testimony concerning the execution of any such will or codicil, shall have been paid, or have accepted or released, or shall have refused to accept such legacy or bequest, upon tender made thereof, such person shall be admitted as a witness to the execution of such will or codicil, within the intent of the said act, notwithstanding such legacy or bequest.

IV. Provided always, and be it further enacted, That in case of such tender and refusal as aforesaid, such person shall in no wise be intituled to such legacy or bequest, but shall be for ever afterwards barred therefrom; and in case of such acceptance as aforesaid, such person shall retain to his own use the legacy or bequest which shall have been so paid, satisfied or accepted, notwithstanding such will or codicil shall afterwards be adjudged or determined to be void for want of due execution, or for any other cause or defect whatsoever.

V. And be it further enacted, That in case any such legatee as aforesaid, who hath attested the execution of any will or codicil already made, or shall attest the execution of any will or codicil which shall be made on or before the said twenty-fourth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and fifty-two, shall have died in the lifetime of the testator, or before he shall have received or released the legacy or bequest so given to him as

aforesaid, and before he shall have refused to receive such legacy or bequest, on tender made thereof, such legatee shall be deemed a legal witness to the execution of such will or codicil, within the intent of the said act, notwithstanding such legacy or bequest.

VI. Provided always, That the credit of every such The credit of witness so attesting the execution of any will or so attesting, is codicil, in any of the cases in this act before- to be subject to mentioned, and all circumstances relating thereto, tion of the court shall be subject to the consideration and determina- and jury tion of the court, and the jury, before whom any such witness shall be examined, or his testimony or attestation made use of; or of the Court of Equity, in which the testimony or attestation of any such witness shall be made use of; in like manner, to all intents and purposes, as the credit of witnesses in all other cases ought to be considered of and determined,

VII. And - be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no person to whom any beneficial estate, interest, gift or appointment, shall be given or made, which is hereby enected to be null and void as aforesaid, or who shall have refused to receive any such legacy or bequest, on tender made as aforesaid, and who shall have been examined as a witnesy concerning the execution of such will or codicil, shall, after he shall have been so examined, demand or take possession of or receive any profits or benefit of or from any such estate, interest, gift, or appointment, so given or made to him, in or by any such will or codicil; or demand, receive, or accept from any person or persons whatsoever, any such legacy or bequest, or any satisfaction or compensation for the same, in any manner or under any colour or pretence whatsoever.

VIII. Provided always, and be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That this act, or any thing herein contained, shall not extend, or be construed to extend, to the case of any heir at law, or of any devisee in a prior will or codicil of the same testator, executed and attested according to the said recited act, or any person claiming under them respectively, who has been in quiet possession for the space of two years next preceding the sixth day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and fifty-one, as to such lands, tenements, and hereditaments, whereof he has been in quiet possession as aforesaid; and also that this act, or any thing herein contained, shall not extend or be construed to extend, to any will or codicil, the validity or due execution whereof hath been contested in any suit in law or equity, commenced by the heir of such devisor, or the devisee in any such prior will or codicil, for recovering the lands, tenements, or hereditaments, mentioned to be devised in any will or codicil so contested, or any part thereof, or for obtaining any other judgment or decree relative thereto, on or before the said sixth day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and fifty-one, and which has been already determined in favour of such heir at law, or devisee, in such prior will or codicil

, or any person claiming under them respectively, or which is still depending, and has been prosecuted with due diligence; but the validity of every such will or codicil, and the competency of the witnesses thereto, shall be adjudged and determined in the same manner, to all intents and purposes, as if this act had never been made; any thing herein-before contained to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding.

IX. Provided always nevertheless, and it is hereby declared, That no possession of any heir at law, or

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