A will does not have to be in any special form but is usually drawn in a certain orderly way.
We will find that if a will is in writing and signed by the testator and properly witnessed it is good though it is informally drawn, but a will properly made should be drawn in an orderly way, and we will notice in the following sections the usual order of a will.
The introduction is a statement that the testator does make, ordain, publish and declare the writing to be his will.
A reference to the form in the appendix will show the form of expression used in the introduction. This form sometimes begins with such words as these: "In the name of God, Amen" and sometimes refers to the uncertainty of life and states that the testator is indebted to Providence for the blessings he enjoys, but these recitals are not now made so often and at such length as formerly.
After the introduction sometimes follows a direction to the executor to pay debts and funeral expenses as soon as conveniently may be. Then follow in order the devises and bequests.
In this part of the will there should be the utmost certainty and there should also be a provision made for all contingencies. It very often appears that a will is so carelessly drawn that its meaning is not clear. For example: Sometimes powers are given which would seem to imply the ownership of property and yet the title is not directly given; and in the event of the death of the donees before the testator no provision is made for the disposition of the estate. This is the part of the will which is the heart thereof and exceeding care should be exercised, in framing it. Wills should always be drawn where possible, by an experienced and able lawyer who knows the legal effect of words used, the effect of possible events, like marriage or birth of child, and is accustomed to consider all contingencies.
A residuary clause is often stated which provides for the disposition of all the estate not specially disposed of.
Such a clause is of course unnecessary where all of the estate is given to any one person or class of persons but in the event the will consists of specific devises and legacies, there should be a residuary clause naming some one to whom the residue, if any, is to go.
An executor is to be appointed and his appointment usually follows the gifts though it may be at any place in the will.
It is important to name an executor who should be some person in whom the testator has faith, or a trust company qualified by law to act as executor. In large estates it is often desirable to name a trust company but in the smaller estates this is not usual. Several executors may be named, especially if the estate is a large one, and this makes it reasonably certain that at least one of them will outlive the period of administration. If no executor is named the will is not for that reason invalid but the court will name an "administrator, with the will annexed" or more shortly, "administrator w. w. a."
The conclusion of the will is a mere statement that the executor has affixed his name on a certain date.
See the Appendix for the form of the conclusion.
The will must be signed and attested as we have heretofore seen.