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    Hello, would anyone know the basic principles of the law of wills that you could refer to in an essay question other than testamentary freedom principle?

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    Is the essay question really "Explain the basic principles of the law of wills"?

    I'm not sure that is a well-defined question. Perhaps you could say that it is a 'basic principle' that a valid will must comply with the formalities of the Wills Act 1837 (save for certain exceptions). If you were stretching it you could say that it is a basic principle that although the person propounding the will bears the burden of proving that it is a valid will, where the will is rational on its face, and complies with the formalities, in practice, it is the person disputing the validity of the will who bears the burden of proving invalidity.

    I am sure you know this but there has only been *absolute* testamentary freedom in this country between 1891 and 1938.
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    Hi thanks for the reply to the forum! The first part of the essay question is, "Testamentary freedom is often regarded as the first basic principle of the law of wills" Do you agree with this statement? Discuss with reference to specific case Law examples Any advice on answering this question? Thanks
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    I don't think I have any great insights.

    I would look at two strands of case law. The first strand (pro-testamentary freedom) are those cases which recognise that the mere fact that gifts in a will appear capricious or downright nasty is not in itself a basis to conclude that the testator lacked testamentary capacity. The second strand (anti-testamentary freedom) are cases brought under the '75 Act on the basis that the will fails to make reasonable financial provision for one of certain classes of person.

    As I said earlier, there has only been *absolute* testamentary freedom in this country between 1891 (when the Mortmain and Charitable Uses Act 1891 removed restrictions on certain charitable gifts) and 1938 (when the precursor to the '75 Act was introduced). If your module covers jurisdictions other than England and Wales, then you should probably mention that very very many other countries have forced heirship rules and testamentary freedom applies only to some proportion of the estate (possibly no part at all in some countries).

    I didn't do any module on wills at university and I think that your answer to this essay question should be coloured in large part by what had been covered in the module, your lecture notes, and whatever cases, books and articles you have been directed to read. It may be that the examiner is getting at something more philosophical than I imagine.
 
 
 
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