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Thoughts about the wording within a Will

Thoughts about the wording within a Will

Posted: 17 Feb 2012 10:20PM GMT
Classification: Query
I have a copy of a Will for an ancestor of mine that he signed in the year 1782. It says the following:

"shall be equally divided between all my brothers and sisters that shall be living at my said sons death or at my decease (in case I should survive him) and the child or children of such of my brothers or sisters as are now dead"

My question is whether I should take the above absolutely literally? The above wording implies to me that in 1782 when he signed the Will, he had multiple brothers and sisters still alive and multiple brothers and sisters that were dead at that time. That is what I would naively assume knowing nothing about what Wills were like in 1782. I'm wondering if I can use this as a fact when identifying candidate baptism parish records for his birth, i.e. someone with the right name that had lots of brothers and sisters is probably more likely to be the right person than someone with very few of each or perhaps only brothers or only sisters. I know his birth year and have a possible candidate in mind that does indeed have a lot of siblings of both genders.

The reason I ask this is that I'm starting to wonder if the wording is deliberately all inclusive of all siblings as a kind of general/generic way of referring to ones siblings within a Will at that time and perhaps I shouldn't read too much into that. But I'd dearly love to be able to make the assumption that he had multiple brothers and sisters alive in 1782 and multiple brothers and sisters dead in 1782 since that would indeed be a useful clue when comparing the possible candidates.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

Kind regards,

Lance

Re: Thoughts about the wording within a Will

Posted: 19 Feb 2012 1:28PM GMT
Classification: Will
Edited: 19 Feb 2012 1:29PM GMT
That's a tricky one. I think I'd be inclined to believe it's a lazy way of making sure all the brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews benefit without specifically naming them and having to update the will whenever one of them died.

As a result, I'd take it to mean that the testator had many brothers and sisters, but that the statement about child or children of deceased brothers and sisters would apply at the time the will was proved, rather than when it was written.

It is somewhat open to interpretation though, especially with "now" being the 2nd last word in your quoted excerpt. Quite confusing really. I wonder if there's any correspondence regarding the proving of the will in the local archives, deposited by the solicitor? Sometimes you can be lucky and find something.

Christine

Re: Thoughts about the wording within a Will

Posted: 20 Feb 2012 8:04PM GMT
Classification: Query
There is actually a little bit more to the text related to the children of the brothers and sisters. I realised after posting my message that it might be relevant:

"shall be equally divided between all my brothers and sisters that shall be living at my said sons death or at my decease (in case I should survive him) and the child or children of such of my brothers or sisters as are now dead (or shall be so at either of the aforesaid (???)) to be entitled to the part or share of his, her or their respective farther or mother in case they had been living to be equally divided amongst them if more than one, and if but one such child then the share of such deceased farther or mother wholly to that one."

The Will leaves everything to his son unless his son dies before him, in which case the above would have been actioned, but since the son was still alive then I guess there may not have been much in the way of correspondence. I know notices similar to the following appeared at least twice in the Norfolk Chronicle in 1783:

"All Persons having any legal Claim or Demand on the Estate and Effects late John EWING's, of Cringleford, in the County of Norfolk, deceased, are hereby desired to apply to Mr John EWING, of Cringleford, or to William HUGHES, of Hethersett, Executors to the said Mr John EWING, in order to receive Satisfaction of the same; and all Persons that stand any ways indebted to the Estate and Effects of the above mentioned deceased, are hereby likewise desired to discharge the same to the said Executors, in order to prevent any farther Trouble."

...so it is indeed possible that there may have been some correspondence as a result.

Lance


Re: Thoughts about the wording within a Will

Posted: 20 Feb 2012 8:14PM GMT
Classification: Will
Edited: 20 Feb 2012 8:15PM GMT
Ah yes, that makes it clearer!

I would say that it *does* mean as you first thought, that when the will was written there were some living siblings of the testator, and some siblings who had died. The part in brackets clarifies that it will also apply to the children of those siblings who may die by the time of the death of either the testator or of his eldest son.

Christine
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