A will or testament is a final disposition of a person's property to take effect after his death. A codicil is an addition or alteration in such disposition. All persons are competent to make a will except idiots, persons of unsound mind, and infants. In many states a will of an unmarried woman is deemed revoked by her subsequent marriage. A nuncupative or unwritten will is one made by a soldier in active service, or by a mariner while at sea.

In most of the states a will must be in writing, signed by the testator, or by some person in his presence, and by his direction, and attested by witnesses, who must subscribe their names thereto in the presence of the testator. The form of wording a will is immaterial as long as its intent is clear.

Age at which persons may make wills is in most of the states 21 years. Males and females are competent to make wills at 18 years in the following states: California, Connecticut, Hawaiian Islands, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma Territory, South Dakota, Utah; and in the following states only females at 18 years: Colorado, District of Columbia, Ilinois, Maryland, Missouri, Washington, Wisconsin.

In the following states persons of 18 years may dispose of personal property only: Alabama, Arkansas,

Missouri, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginia; in Georgia any one over 14 years and in Louisiana any one over 16 years is competent to make a will. In Colorado persons of 17 years, and in New York males of 18 and females of 16 years may dispose of personalty.


Most of the states require two witnesses, except in Connecticut (3), District of Columbia (3), Maine (3), Massachusetts (3), New Hampshire (3), South Carolina (3), Vermont (3).