Tuesday, 16 April 2013

A-Z Challenge 2013: N is for Nuncupative Will

Most genealogists are familiar with an ancestor's Last Will and Testament as a document written without commas (if written by a lawyer's clerk, as they mostly were) and full of interesting facts such as "I bequeath the six best horsehair chairs to my loving daughter Emily" or "I do not bequeath any monies to my son John who is parsimonious and will not give to the poor".  Written down well before the death of the person in a specific format.

But a nuncupative will is word of mouth only, and then testified to in a court of law by two or three witnesses.  (The writing-down part  is usually after the person is dead, but must be shortly after.)  Some U.S. states still allow this, as do England and Wales; military personnel on active duty are often permitted to do this

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