Wills Act


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Wills (CAP. 473 1

CHAPTER 473

THE WILLS ACT

Arrangement of Sections
Section

1. Short title.
2 . Interpretation.

Power of Devising &c.

3. All property may be disposed of by will.
4. Estates pur autre vie.
5. Father may dispose of custody of children during

minority.
6. Person under age.

Mode of Making Wills.

Will shall be in writing and signed by testator in pres-
ence of two witnesses at one time.

Rights of person under will made before 1873 not
affected.

When signature to will shall be deemed valid.
Appointments by will to be executed like other wills

and to be valid although other required solemnities
are not observed.

Soldiers' and mariners' wills.
Publication not requisite.
Will not to be void on account of incompetency of

attesting witness.
Gifts to attesting witness void.
Creditor attesting to be admitted a witness.
Executor to be admitted a witness.
Executor deemed trustee of undisposed residue.

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2 CAP. 473) kVills

18. Will revoked by marriage.
19. NO will revoked by presumption.
20. NO will revoked except by another will or writing duly

*executed or by destruction.
21. No alteration in will shall have effect unless executed as

a will.
22. No will revoked to be revived except by re-execution or

codicil duly executed.
23. Devise not rendered inoperative by subsequent con-

veyance or act.
24. Will to speak from death of testator.
25. A residuary devise shall include estate comprised in

lapsed and void devises.
26. A general devise of testator's lands shall include lease-

hold as well as freehold lands.
27. A gencrnl gift shall include estates over which testator

has general power of appointment.
28. A devise without words of limitation shall pass the fee.
29. The words "die without issue," or "die without leaving

issue," shall mean die without issue living at the
death.

30. No devise to trustees or executors except for a term,
shall pass a chattel interest.

31. Trustees under unlimited devise, where trust may
endure beyond life of person beneficially entitled for
life, to take the fee.

32. Devises of estates tail shall not lapse.
33. Gifts to children, or other issue, who leave issue living

at testator's death, shall not lapse.
34. Act not to extend to wills made before 1873.
35. Heir or devisee of real estate not to claim payment of

mortgage out of personal assets.

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

VViLL5 (CAP. 473 3

WILLS

1. This Act may be cited as the Wills Act. Short title.

2. In this Act- Interpretation.

"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 whatso-
ever, which by law devolves upon an executor or
administrator, and to any share or interest therein;

"real estate" shall extend to the messuages, lands, rents,
and hereditaments, whether freehold 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;

"will" shall extend to a testament and a codicil, and to
an appointment by will, or by writing in the nature
of a will, in the 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 any
law, and to any other testamentary disposition.

Po-ruer of Devising, &c.
3. It shall be lawful for every person lo devise, All property may

bequeath, or dispose of by his will, executed in manner $ y o f b y
hereinafter required, all real estate and all personal estate
to which he shall be entitled, either at law or in equity, at the
time of his death, and which, if not so devised, bequeathed,

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

4 CAP. 473) Wills

or disposed of, would devolve upon the heir-at-law of him,
or if he became entitled by descent, of his ancestor, or upon
his executor or administrator, and also to estates pur nutre
vie, whether there shall, or shall not, be any special occu-
pant thereof, and whether the same shall be freehold or of
any other tenure, and whether the same shall be a corporeal
or incorporeal hereditament, and also to all contingent,
executory, or other future interests in any real or personal
estate, whether the testator may, or may not, be ascertained
as the person, or one of the persons, in whom the same
respectively may become vested, and whether he may be
entitled thereto under the instrument by which the same
respectively were created, or under any disposition thereof
by deed or will, and also to all rights of entry for conditions
broken and other rights of entry, and also to such of the
same estates, interests, and rights respectively, and other
real and personal estate as the testator may be entitled to at
the time of his death, notwithstanding that he may become
entitled to the same subsequently to the execution of his
will.

Estates par autre 4. If no disposition by will shall be made of any estate
vie.

pur autre vie of a freehold nature, the same shall be charge-
able in the hands of the heir, if it shall come to him by rea-
son of special occupancy, as assets by descent as in the case
of freehold land in fee simple; and, in case there shall be no
special occupant of any estate pur autre vie, whether freehold
or of any other tenure, and whether a corporeal or incorpo-
real hereditament, it shall go to the executor or administra-
tor of the party that had the estate thereof by virtue of the
grant; and, if the same shall come to the executor or adrnin-
istrator either by reason of a special occupancy or by virtue
of this Act, it shall be assets in his hands and shall go and be
applied and distributed in the same manner as the personal
estate of the testator or intestate.

Father may
dispose of custody

5. It shall be lawful for the father of any child under
ofchildrendudng the age of eighteen years and not married at his decease,
minority. whether then born or in uentr~ sn mere, to dispose by will of

the custody and tuition of such child for such time as such
child shall remain under the age of eighteen years, or any
less time, and the person, to whom the custody of such child
shall be so disposed, shall have the same powers, rights, and

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

Wills (CAP. 473 5

remedies in relation to the person and property of such
child as a guardian by statute or a guardian in common
socage in England.

6. No will made by ally pet-sot1 under the age of Personunderage.
eighteen years shall be valid.

Mod? of Making Wzl1.c.

7. No will shall be valid unless it shall he in writing E::i;Efs&ed
and executed in manner hereinafter mentioned; (that is to by testator in
say,) it shall be signed at the foot, or end, thereof by the tes- p resence of two

witnesses at one
tator, or by some other person in his presence and by his time.
direction, and such signature shall be made, or acknowl-
edged, by the testator in the presence of two, or more, wit-
nesses present at the same time, and such witnesses shall
attest and shall subscribe the will in the presence of the tes-
tator, but no form of attestation shall be necessary.

8. Nothing in this Act contained shall affect the Righeofperson
under will made

rights of any person claiming wlder ally will or document before 187Snot
made before the 1st day ofJanuary, 1875. affected.

9. Every will shall, so far only as !.cgards the positioll Whensi~ature to
will shall be

of the signature of the testator, or of the person signing for deemedvalid.
him as aforesaid, be deemed valid within the enactment in
section 7 as explained by this section, if the signature shall
be so placed at, or after, or following, or under, or beside, or
opposite to, the end of the will, that it shall be apparent on
the face of the will that the testator intended to give effect
by such signature to the writing signed as his will; and no
such will shall be affected by the circumstances that the sig-
nature shall not follow, or be immediately after, the foot or
end of the will, or by the circumstance that a blank space
shall intervene between the concluding word of the will and
the signature, or by the circumstance that the signature
shall be placed among the words of the te.stimonium clause or
of the clause of attestation, or shall follow, or be after, or
under, the clause of attestation, either with or without a
blank space intervening, or shall follow, or be after, under;
or beside, the names, or one of the names, of the subscrib-
itlg witnesses, or by the circumstance that the signature shall

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

6 CAP. 473) Wills

be on a side, or page, or other portion, of the paper, or
papers, containing the will, whereon no clause, or para-
graph, or disposing part of the will shall be written above
the signature, or by the circumstance that there shall appear
to be sufficient space, on or at the bottom of, the preceding
side, or page, or other portion, of the same paper on which
the will is written, to contain the signature: and the enumer-
ation of the above circumstances shall not restrict the gener-
ality of the above enactment, but no signature under this
Act shall be operative to give effect to any disposition, or
direction, which is underneath, or which follows it, nor shall
it give effect to any disposition, or direction, inserted after
the signature shall be made.

Appointments by 10. N o appointment made by will in exercise of any
will to be executed
like otherwills power shall be valid unless the same be executed in manner
andto bevalid hereinbefore required; and every will executed in manner
although other
required hereinbefore required shall, so far as respects the execution
solemnitiesare and attestation thereof, be a valid execution of a power of
not observed.

appointment by will, notwithstanding it shall have been
expressly required that a will made in exercise of such
power should be executed with some additional, or other,
form of execution or solemnity.

Soldiers' and 11. Any soldier being in actual military service, or
mariners' wills.

any mariner or seaman being at sea, may dispose of his per-
sonal estate as he might have done by the law of England
before the making of this Act.

Publication not
requisite.

12. Every will executed in manner hereinbefore
required shall be valid without any other publication thereof.

Will not to be void 13. If any person, who shall attest the execution of a
on account of
infompetencyof will, shall, at the time of the execution thereof, or at any
attestingwitness. time afterwards, be incompetent to be admitted a witness to

prove the execution thereof, such will shall not on that
account be invalid.

Gifts to attesting 14. If any person shall attest the execution of any will
witness void.

to whom, or to whose wife or husband, any beneficial devise,
legacy, estate, interest, gift, or appointment of, or affecting,
any real or personal estate other than and except charges
and directions for the payment of any debt or debts, shall be

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

Wills (CAP. 473 7

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 the wife or
husband of such person, or any person claiming under such
person or wife or husband, be utterly rlull and void; and
such person so attesting shall be admitted as a witness to
prove the execution of such will, or to prove the validity or
invalidity thereof, notwithstanding such devise, legacy, estate,
interest, gift, or appointment meutiolled in such will.

15. In case, by any will, any real or personal estate Creditorattesting
to be admitted a shall be charged with any debt or debts, and any creditor, or ~ t n e s s .

the wife or husband of' any creditor, whose debt is so
charged, shall attest the execution of such will, such creditor,
notwithstanding such charge, shall be admitted a witness to
prove the execution of such will, or to prove the validity or
invalidity thereof.

16. NO person shall, on account of his being an Executortobe
admitted a executor of a will, be incompetent to be admitted a witness uitness.

to prove the execution of such will, or a witness to prove the
validity or invalidity thereof.

17. When any person shall die alter the jlst day of Ezr:;pmed
December, 1872, having by his will, or any codicil thereto, undisposed
whether made before or after the passing of this Act,
appointed an executor, such executor shall be deemed in
equity to be a trustee for the person (if any) who would be
entitled to the estate, under the statute of distributions, in
respect of any residue not expressly disposed of, unless it
shall appear by the will, or any codicil thereto, that the per-
son so appointed executor was intended to take such residue
beneficially; but nothing in this section shall affect, or preju-
dice, any right to which any executor, if this Act had not
been passed, would have been entitled in cases where there
is not any person who would be entitled to the testator's
estate, under the statute of distributions, in respect of any
residue not expressly disposed of.

18. Every will made by a man, or woman, shall be E ! ; g r d b ~
revoked by his, or her, marriage, except a will made in exer-
cise of a power of appointment when the real or personal
estate thereby appointed would not, in default of such

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

8 CAP. 473) Wills

appointment, pass to his or her heir, executor or administra-
tor, or the person entitled as his or her next of kin under the
statute of distributions:

Provided that no clinical marriage solemnized in
Antigua and Barbuda agreeably to the provisions of ally
Marriage Act then in force, shall operate to revoke or render
invalid any will made or to be made by the person contrdcting
such marriage.

No willrevokedb~ 19. No will shall be revoked by any presumption of any
presumption.

intention on the ground of an alteration in circumstances.

No will revoked
except by another

20. No will, or codicil, or any part thereof, shall be
will or writinp dulv revoked otherwise than a5 aforesaid, or by another will or cod- - ,
executed by icil, executed in manner hereinbefore required, or by some
destruction.

writing declaring an intention to revoke the same, and execut-
ed in the manlier in which a will is hereinbefore required to
be executed, or by the burning, tearing or otherwise destroy-
ing the same by the testator, or by some person in his presence
and by his direction, with the intention of revoking the same.

NO alteration in 21. No obliteration, interlineation, or other alteration,
will shall have
effect unless made in any will after the execution thereof, shall be valid, or
executed as have any effect, except so far as the words, or effect, of the will,
a will.

before such alteration, shall not be apparent, unless such
alteration shall be executed in like manner as hereinbefore is
required for the execution of the will; but the will, with such
alteration as part thereof, shall be deemed to be duly executed
if the signature of the testator and the subscription of the wit-
nesses be made in the margin, or on some other part, of the
will, opposite, or near, to such alteration, or at the foot or end
of, or opposite to, a memorandum referring to such alteration
and written at the end, or some other part, of the will.

No d l revoked to 22. No will, or codicil, or any part thereof, which shall
be revived except
by reexecution or be in any manner revoked, shall be revived otherwise than by
codicil duly the re-execution thereof, or by a codicil, executed in manner
executed.

hereinbefore required, and showing an inte~ltiorl to revive the
same; and, when any will or codicil, which shall be partly
revoked and afterwards wholly revoked, shall be revived, such
revival shall not extend to so much thereof as shall have been
revoked before the revocation of the whole thereof, unless an
intention to the contrary shall be shown.

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

Wills (CAP. 473 9

23. No cortveyance, or other act, made or done subse- Devise not
rendered quently to the execution of a will of, or relating to, any real or inoperative by

personal estate therein comprised, except an act by which subsequent
conveyance or act.

such will shall be revoked as aforesaid, shall prevent the opera-
tion of the will with respect to such estate or interest in such
real or personal estate as the testator shall have power to dis-
pose of by will at the time of his death.

24. Every will shall be construed, with reference to the "11 to speak from
death of testator.

real estate and personal estate comprised in it, to speak and
take effect as if it had been executed immediately before the
death of the testator, unless a contrary intention shall appear
by the will.

25. Unless a contrary intention shall appear by the will, Aresiduarydevise
shall include

such real estate, or interest therein, as shall be comprised, or es,,co,prised
intended to be comprised, in any devise in such will con- inlapsedandvoid

devises.
tained, which shall fail, or be void, by reason of the death of
the devisee in the lifetime of the testator, or by reason of such
devise being contrary to law, or otherwise incapable of taking
effect, shall be included in the residuary devise (if any) con-
tained in such will.

26. A devise of the land of the testator, or of the land of A general devise
of testator's lands

the testator in any place, or in the occupation of any person, shall include
mentioned in his will, or otherwise described in a general le=ehold=well

as freehold lands.
manner; and any other general devise, which would describe a
leasehold estate if the testator had no freehold estate which
could be described by it, shall be construed to include the
leasehold estates of the testator, or his leasehold estates or any
of them to which such description shall extend, as the case
may be, as well as freehold estates, unless a contrary intention
shall appear by the will.

27. A general devise of the real estate of the testator, or Agenerd @ftshall
~nclude states

of the real estate of the testator in any place, or in the occupa-
tion of any person, mentioned in -his will, or otherwise testatorha

general power of
described in a general manner, shall be construed to include appointment.
any real estate, or any real estate to which such description
shall extend (as the case may be), which he may have power to
appoint in any manner he may think proper, and shall operate
as an execution of such power, unless a contrary intentio~l
shall appear by the will; and, in like manner, a bequest of the

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

CAP. 473) Wills

personal estate of the testator, or any bequest of personal
property described in a general manner, shall be construed to
include any personal estate, or any personal estate to which
such* description shall extend (as the case may be), which he
may have power to appoint in any manner he may think proper,
and shall operate as an execution of such power, unless a con-
trary intention shall appear by thc will.

A devise without
words of

28. Where any real estate shall be devised to any person
limitation shaU without any words of limitation, such devise shall be construed
pass the fee. to pass the fee simple, or other the whole estate or interest

which the testator had power to dispose of by will in such real
estate, unless a contrary intention shall appear by the will.

The words "die
without issue," or

29. In any devise or bequest of real or personal estate,
"die without the words "die without issue," or "die without leavilla issue," or -
leaving issue,"
shall mean die "have no issue," or any other words which may import eithcr a
without issue want or failure of issue of any person in his lifetimc or at the
living at the death.

time of his death, or an indefinite failure of his issue, shall be
construed to mean a want or failurc of issue in the lifetime, or
at the time of the death, of such person, and not an indefinite
failure of his issue, unless a contrary intention shall appear by
the will by reason of such person having a prior estate tail, or
of a preceding gift, being, without any implication arising
from such words, a limitation of an estate tail to such person
or issue, or otherwise:

Provided that this Act shall riot extend to cases where
such words as aforesaid import if no issue described in a pre-
ceding gift shall be born, or if there shall be no issue who shall
live to attain the age, or otherwise answer the description,
required for obtaining a vested estate by a preceding gift to
such issue.

NO devise to 30. Where any real estate shall be devised to any
trustees or
executors exceDt trustee or executor. such devise shall be construed to Dass the

~ ~ ~ ~ ; $ f i
fee simple, or other the whole estate or interest which'the tes-

interest. tator had power to dispose of by will, in such real estate, u~lless
a definite term of years, absolute or determinable, or an estate
of freehold, shall thereby be given to him expressly or by
implication.

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

Wills (CAP. 473 I I

31. Where any real estate shall be devised to a trustee Trustees under
unlimited devise,

without any express limitation of the estate to be taken by such where trust may
trustee, and the beneficial interest in such real estate, or in the $~Uo;e$~ ,"~~e , -
surplus rents and profits thereof, shall not be given to any eficiallyentitled

for life to take
person for life, or such beneficial interest shall be given to any the fee:
person for life, but the purposes of the trust may continue
beyond the life of such person, such devise shall be construed
to vest in such trustee the fee simple, or other the whole legal
estate which the testator had power to dispose of by will, in
such real estate, and not an estate determinable when the pur-
poses of the trust shall be satisfied.

32. Where any person, to whom any real estate shall be Devises of estates
tail shall not lapse.

devised for an estate tail, or an estate in quasi entail, shall die
in the lifetime of the testator, leaving issue who would be
inheritable under such entail, and any such issue shall be liv-
ing at the time of the death of the testator, such devise shall
not lapse, but shall take effect as if the death of such person
had happened immediately after the death of the testator,
unless a contrary intention shall appear by the will.

33. Where any person, being a child or other issue of Giftstochddren, or other issue,
the testator, to whom any real or personal estate shall be W ~ O leave issue
devised, or bequeathed, for any estate or interest not deter- ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ , " : ' "
minable at, or before, the death of such person, shall die in lapse.
the lifetime of the testator leaving issue, and any such issue of
such person shall be living at the time of the death of the testa-
tor, such devise or bequest shall not lapse, but shall take effect,
as if the death of such person had happened immediately
after the death of the testator, unless the contrary intention
shall appear by the will.

34. This Act shall not extend to any will made before p;;;,"z,""
the 1st day of January, 1873, and every will, reexecuted, or before 1873.
republished, or revived, by any codicil, shall, for the purposes
of this Act, be deemed to have been made at the time at which
the same shall be so reexecuted, republished or revived, and
this Act shall not extend to any estate pur autre vie of any per-
soil who shall die before the 1st day ofJanuary, 1873.

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

12 CAP. 473) Wills

Heirordeviseeof 35. When any person shall, after the 31st day of
real estate not to
claimpaymentof December, 1872, die seised of, or entitled to, any estate, or
mo%ageoutof interest, in any land or other hereditaments, which shall, at
personal assets.

the time of his death, be charged with the payment of any
sum, or sums, of money by way of mortgage, and such person
shall not, by his will or deed or other document, have signified
any contrary or other intention, the heir or devisee, to whom
such land or hereditaments shall descend or be devised, shall
not be entitled to have the mortgage debt discharged, or satis-
fied, out of the personal estate, or any other real estate, of
such person, but the land or hereditaments so charged shall,
as between the different persons claiming through, or under,
the deceased person, be primarily liable to the payment of all
mortgage debts with which the same shall be charged, every
part thereof, according to its value, bearing a proportiorlate
part c~f the mortgage debts charged on the whole thereof:

Provided that nothing herein contained shall affect, or
diminish, any right of the mortgagee on such lands or heredi-
taments to obtain full payment, or satisfaction, of his mort-
gage debt, either out of the personal estate of the person so
dying as aforesaid or otherwise:

Provided also that nothing herein contained shall affect
the rights of any person claiming under, or by virtue of, any will,
deed, or document made before the 1st day ofJanuary, 1873.

Related Laws

2000 Wills Act