testament


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Testament

Another name for a will.

testament

noun agreement, binding agreement, contract, covenant, engagement, expression of conviction, formal declaration, legal will, promise, solemn agreement, solemn promise, testamentary declaration, testamentary decree, testamentum, will, writing
Associated concepts: codicil, last will and testament, testaaentary capacity, testamentary devise, testamentary trust
Foreign phrases: Omne testamentum morte consummatum est.Every will or testament is consummated by death.
See also: certificate, codicil, will

TESTAMENT, civil law. The appointment of an executor or testamentary heir, according to the formalities prescribed by law. Domat, Liv. 1, tit. 1, s. 1.
     2. At first there were only two sorts of testaments among the Romans that called calatis comitiis, and another called in procinctu. (See below.) In the course of time these two sorts of testament having become obsolete, a third form was introduced, called per aes et libram, which was a fictitious sale of the inheritance to the heir apparent. The inconveniences which were experienced from these fictitious sales again changed the form of testaments; and the praetor introduced another which required the seal of seven witnesses. The emperors having increased the solemnity of those testaments, they were called written or solemn testaments, to distinguish them from nuncupative testaments which could be made without writing. Afterwards military testaments were introduced, in favor of soldiers actually engaged in military service.
     3. Among the civilians there are various kinds of testaments, the principal of which are mentioned below.
     4. A civil testament is one made according to all the forms prescribed by law, in contradistinction to a military testament, in making which some of the forms may be dispensed with. Civil testaments are more ancient than military ones; the former were in use during the time of Romulus, the latter were introduced during the time of Coriolanus. See Hist. de la Jurisp. Rom. de M. Terrason, p. 119.
     5. A common testament is one which is made jointly by several persons. Such testaments are forbidden in Louisiana, Civ. Code of Lo. art. 1565, and by the laws of France, Code Civ. 968, in the same words, namely, "A testament cannot be made by the same act, by two or more persons, either for the benefit of a third person, or under the title of a reciprocal or mutual disposition."
     6. A testament calatis comitiis, or made in the comitia, that is, the assembly of the Roman people, was an ancient manner of making wills used in times of peace among the Romans. The comitia met twice a year for this purpose. Those who wished to make such testaments caused to be convoked the assembly of the people by these words, calatis comitiis. None could make such will's that were not entitled to be at the assemblies of the people. This form of testament was repealed by the law of the Twelve Tables.
     7. Testament ab irato, a term used in the civil law. A testament ab irato, is one made in a gust of passion or hatred against the presumptive heir rather than from a desire to benefit the devisee. When the facts of unreasonable anger are proved, the will is annulled as unjust, and as not having been freely made. Vide Ab irato.
     8. A mystic testament is also called a solemn testament, because it requires more formality than a nuncupative testament; it is a form of making a will, which consists principally in enclosing it in an envelope and sealing it in the presence of witnesses.
     9. This kind of testament is used in Louisiana. The following are the provisions of the civil code of that state on the subject, namely: the mystic or secret testament, otherwise called the close testament, is made in the following manner: the testator must, sign his dispositions, whether he has written. them himself, or has caused them to be written by another person. The paper containing, those dispositions, or the paper serving as their envelope, must be closed and sealed. The testator shall present it thus closed and sealed to the notary and to witnesses, or he shall cause it to be and sealed in their presence; then he shall declare to the notary, in the presence of the witnesses, that that paper contains his testament written by himself, or by another by his direction, and signed by him, the testator. The notary shall then draw up the act of superscription, which shall be written on that paper, or on the sheet that serves as its envelope, and that act shall be signed by the testator, and by the notary and the witnesses. Art. 1577, 5 M. R. 1 82. All that is above prescribed shall be done without interruption or turning aside to other acts; and in case the testator, by reason of any hindrance that has happened since the signing of the testament, cannot sign the act of superscription, mention shall be made of the declaration made by him thereof; without its being necessary, in that case, to increase the number of witnesses. Art. 1578. Those who know not how, or are not able to write, and those who know not how, or are not able to sign their names, cannot make dispositions in the form of the mystic will. Art. 1579. If any one of the witnesses to the act of superscription knows not how to sign, express mention shall be made thereof. In all cases the act must be signed by at least two witnesses. Art. 1580.
     10. Nuncupative, testament, a term used in the civil law. A nuncupative testament was one made verbally, in the presence of seven witnesses; it was not necessary that it should have been, in writing; the proof of it was by parol evidence.
     11. In Louisiana, testaments, whether nuncupative or mystic, must be drawn up in writing, either by the testator himself, or by some other person under his dictation. Civil Code of Lo. art. 1568. The custom of making verbal statements, that is to say, resulting from the mere deposition of witnesses, who were present when the testator made known to them his will, without his having committed it, or caused it to be committed to writing, is abrogated. Id. art. 1569. Nuncupative testaments may be made by public act, or by act under private signature. Id. art. 1570. See Will, nuncupative.
     12. Olographic testament, a term used in the civil law. The olographic testament is that which is written wholly by the testator himself. In order to be valid, it must be entirely written, dated, and signed by the hand of the testator. It is subject to no other form. See Civil Code of Lo. art.

References in classic literature ?
She pulled me in and shut the door; then she looked in the Testament till she found the paper, and as soon as she read it she looked glad; and before a body could think she grabbed me and give me a squeeze, and said I was the best boy in the world, and not to tell anybody.
I have read my New Testament to little purpose, indeed, if Christian mercy may not soften the hard sentence against her -- if Christian charity may not find a plea for her memory in the love and fidelity, the suffering and the sacrifice, of her whole life.
He was taken ill in the night - quite prostrate he was - in consequence of Crab; and after being drugged with black draughts and blue pills, to an extent which Demple (whose father was a doctor) said was enough to undermine a horse's constitution, received a caning and six chapters of Greek Testament for refusing to confess.
And even then, dear boy," said he, pulling a greasy little clasped black Testament out of his pocket, "we'll have him on his oath.
To the enquiries of Athelstane and Cedric, the old Jew could for some time only answer by invoking the protection of all the patriarchs of the Old Testament successively against the sons of Ishmael, who were coming to smite them, hip and thigh, with the edge of the sword.
The brave Americans serving our nation today in the Persian Gulf, in Somalia, and wherever else they stand, are testament to our resolve, but our greatest strength is the power of our ideas, which are still new in many lands.
The first was a will, drawn in the same eccentric terms as the one which he had returned six months before, to serve as a testament in case of death and as a deed of gift in case of disappearance; but in place of the name of Edward Hyde, the lawyer, with indescribable amazement read the name of Gabriel John Utterson.
I wish also to recall to memory an instance from the Old Testament applicable to this subject.
Ah," said Adam, "I like to read about Moses best, in th' Old Testament.
In the Old Testament, no doubt, rewards and punishments are constantly appealed to as motives for action.
le Cardinal Mazarin was not willing to set down in his testament, neither in any act whatever, but which he confided to me.
He was in dreadful earnest and made me swear, with my hands on the Testament, that whatever happened I would always be true to him.