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SEC. 19. Unless a contrary intention shall appear by the will, such real estate, or interest therein, as shall be comprised in any devise in such will, which shall fail, be void, or otherwise incapable of taking effect, shall be included in the residuary clause, if any, contained in such will.
SEC. 20. A devise or bequest shall extend to any real or personal estate, as the case may be, which the testator has the power to appoint, as he may think proper, and to which it would apply if the estate were his own property, and, unless a contrary intention appear, shall operate as an execution of such power.
SEC. 21. The estate, real and personal, given by will to any legatees or devisees shall be held liable to the payment of debts, in proportion to the value or amount of the several devises or legacies. If there shall be other sufficient estate, specific devises or legacies may be exempted.
SEC. 22. When an estate given by any will has been sold for the payment of debts, all the devisees and legatees shall be liable to contribute, according to their respective interests, to any devisee or legatee from whom the estate devised to him may have been taken for the payment of debts.
SEC. 23. If a witness to a will be competent at the time of attesting the execution of the same, his subsequent incompetency, from whatever cause it may arise, shall not affect the will; but the same may be proved and allowed as if he were dead.
SEC. 24. If a will be attested by a person to whom, or to whose wife or husband, a beneficial interest in any estate is thereby devised or bequeathed, if the will may not otherwise be proved, such person shall be deemed a competent witness; but such devise or bequest shall be void, except that if such witness would be entitled to any share of the estate of the testator in case the will were not established, so much of his share shall be saved to him as shall not exceed the value of what is so devised or bequeathed.
SEC. 25. If a will charging any estate with debts be attested by a creditor, or the wife or husband of a creditor, whose debt is so charged, such creditor shall, notwithstanding, be admitted as a witness for or against the wiil.
SEC. 26. No person shall, on account of his being an executor of a will, be incompetent as a witness for or against the will.
SEC. 27. If any person in whose possession or custody a will shall be, after the death of a testator, shall wilfully neglect to deliver the same to the register of wills for the space of three months after the testator's death shall be known to him, the person so offending shall be subject, on conviction in the criminal court, to such fine as the court, in its discretion, shall think proper, not exceeding the sum of five hundred dollars; and may, moreover, be imprisoned in close custody until he shall produce such will in court, or shall cause it to be delivered to some executor therein named, or to the register of wills.
SEC. 28. Any person having the custody of a will may, after the death of a testator, open and read the same in the presence of any near relatives of the deceased who may conveniently have notice thereof, and of other persons; and immediately thereafter he shall deliver the same to the register of wills, whose duty it shall be to keep it safe until proceedings may be had for proving it.
SEC. 29. Wills relating to real or personal property, or both, may be proved, as hereinafter directed, before the orphans' court; and the probate of a will devising real estate shall be conclusive as to the due execution of the will, in like manner as the probate of a will of personal estate.
SEC. 30. When a will relative to property within this District has been proved without it, an authenticated copy of the same, and the certificate of probate thereof, may be offered for probate in this District. The judge of the orphans' court shall presume, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, that the will was duly executed, and admitted to probate as a will of personal property in the State or country of the testator's domicil, and shall admit such copy to probate as a will of personalty in this District; and if it appear from such copy that the will was proved in the foreign court of probate to have been so executed as to be a valid will of lands in this District, by the laws thereof, such copy may be admitted to probate as a will of real estate.
SEC. 31. When any will, or any such authenticated copy, is offered for probate, and a witness attesting the same resides out of this District, or, though in the same, is unable, from sickness, age, or other infirmity, to attend the orphans' court, the judge thereof may cause a commission to take his deposition to issue, annexed to said. will, or copy, and directed to any person authorized by law to take
depositions in other cases, or to a person specially named therein. The deposition of such witness shall be taken and certified, as in other cases, except that no notice need be given of the time and place of taking the same, unless it be in a case in which the probate is opposed by some person who has made himself a party, and the proof so given shall have the same effect as if it had been given in the orphans' court.
SEC. 32. Any person offering, or intending to offer, to the orphans' court, a will for probate, may obtain from the register process directed to the marshal of the District, requiring him to summon any person interested in the probate to appear in court by a certain day, named in the summons, not less than five days after the service thereof, to show cause why the said will should not be admitted to probate; or notice to parties interested, of the application for probate, and the time for hearing the same, may be given through some newspaper of the District, designated by the court, by publication therein twice a week for three successive weeks; the first publication to be twenty days, at least, before the time so assigned.
SEC. 33. The orphans' court may assign a guardian ad litem to any person so interested who is an infant or insane.
SEC. 34. When all the persons interested in such probate shall be properly convened by such summons, order of publication, or assignment of guardian, or shall otherwise appear as parties, the court shall proceed to hear the application for such probate, and its order thereon shall be final, subject only to an appeal to the circuit court.
SEC. 35. The orphans' court may, however, without summoning any party, or giving other notice to them, proceed to probate, and admit the will to record, or reject the same. But after an order, under this section, a person interested, who was not a party to the proceeding, may, within five years, proceed in the circuit court to impeach or establish the will; on which a trial by jury may be ordered, to ascertain whether any, and, if any, how much of what was so offered for probate is the will of the deceased. If no such proceeding be instituted within that time, the order shall be forever binding.
SEC. 36. The preceding section is subject to this proviso, that any person interested, who, at the time of the order, is within the age of twenty-one years, or is insane, may proceed, as aforesaid, to impeach or establish the will within one year after such disability shall cease;
and any person who shall have been proceeded against by publication may, unless he was personally summoned, or actually appeared as a party, so proceed within two years after such order.
SEC. 37. The record of what is proved or deposed in court by witnesses, on the motion to admit a will to probate and record in the orphans' court, and any depositions lawfully taken out of court, on such motion, may, on such trial, if the witnesses cannot be produced, be admitted as evidence.
SEC. 38. The judge of the orphans' court shall, in all cases, examine, on oath, every executor, or other person, offering a will for probate, as to the manner in which the same came to his hand, and whether or not he knows of any other.
SEC. 39. Every will, or authenticated copy, so admitted to probate, shall be recorded by the register, and shall remain in his office, except during such time as the same shall be taken to another court under a subpoena duces tecum.
SEC. 40. The title of a purchaser, in good faith and for a valuable consideration, from the heirs at law of any person who shall have died owning real estate in this District, shall not he defeated or impaired by virtue of any devise made by such person of the real estate so purchased, unless the will containing the same shall have been duly proved, and recorded in the office of the register, within four years after the death of the testator; except:
1. When it shall appear that the will containing such devise shall have been concealed by the heirs of such testator; or,
2. When, at the time of the testator's death, the devisee shall have been within the age of twenty-one years or insane. In which several cases the limitation contained in this section shall not commence until such will shall have been delivered to the devisee or his representative, or to the executor, or orphans' court, or until such disability shall have been removed.
SEC. 41. The term will, as used in this chapter, shall include all codicils as well as wills.
SEC. 42. The provisions of this chapter in relation to the jurisdiction of the probate of wills, and the proceedings thereon, and effect of same, shall apply as well to wills already made as to those hereafter to be made; but those provisions relating to the execution, revocation, and construction of wills, shall apply only to wills hereafter made,
and to such wills as are already made by a testator who shall be alive at the expiration of one year from the time this chapter shall take effect. The validity and effect of other wills shall be determined by the laws in force immediately before this chapter takes effect, in the like manner as if those laws had not been repealed.
Title by administration, and of the settlement of the estates of deceased persons.
CHAPTER 53. Of letters testamentary.
CHAPTER 54. Of letters of administration.
CHAPTER 55. Of letters of collection.
CHAPTER 56. Of the inventory and list of debts.
CHAPTER 57. Of sales of assets by administrators and payment of debts of deceased. CHAPTER 58. Of accounts of administrators, payment of legacies, and distribution of estate of deceased.
CHAPTER 59. Miscellaneous provisions relative to administration.
OF LETTERS TESTAMENTARY.
1. Letters testamentary; when granted.
4. What evidence to prove party infamous.
6. What evidence of soundness of mind.
8. Married woman not to be entitled to
9. Executor may renounce trust.
10. When deemed to have renounced, being
present at probate.
11. When deemed to have renounced, not present, but in the District.
12. When deemed to have renounced, being without the District at probate.
13. One of several executors failing to qual ify, letters may be granted as if he had not been named.
14. Powers of executor before he qualifies. 15. Executor to qualify by giving bond and taking oath, before letters testamentary are granted.
16. Character of bond.
17. The condition of same.
18. Where recorded, and how sued upon. 19. Bond of executor, &c., when over eigh
teen years of age, binding.
20. Form of oath to be taken by executor. 21. Form of letters testamentary.