The Construction of Wills

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Author: Dr Albert Keating

ISBN: 978-1-905536-97-9

Publication Date: 11th September 2017


The Construction of Wills, Second Edition, is a comprehensive, practical and up-to-date analyses of the principles and rules of construction and post probate issues, including how the courts interpret wills once they become the subject of litigation. Such rules are applied by the courts when tasked with ascertaining the intention of a testator in construction suits, and when considering the admission of extrinsic evidence. This comprehensive work takes account of all recent case law as well as new legislation such as the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 pertaining to trustees, trusts, trusts of land, and the amendments of the Rules of the Superior Courts by SI No 254 of 2016 relating to the conduct of trials and SI No 255 of 2016 which deals with pre-trial procedures. The first edition of the book was published in 2001.
Part 1 provides the principles and rules of construction, and the rules of intrinsic and extrinsic evidence, which are applied by the courts when attempting to ascertain and give effect to a testator’s intention from vague or uncertain language used by him or her in creating gifts. The same principles and rules, together with the relevant statutory provisions, may be applied by the courts when attempting to ascertain a testator’s intention to revoke current wills or revive former wills.
Part 2 deals with issues that may arise in construction suits concerning not only uncertain language used in the creation of gifts, but also the actual legal validity of such gifts. Where the principles and rules of construction fail to ascertain the intention of the testator owing to the vague or unclear language used by him or her in creating gifts, they may be deemed void for uncertainty. Where gifts in wills fail to satisfy the prerequisites of common law or statutory rules, they may be deemed invalid gifts.
Part 3 supplies a useful constructive and interpretative methodology that may be applied for construing and interpreting relevant statutory provisions. Part 4 deals with the forms and procedures required for instituting construction suits, and with issues involving the award of costs.
The Construction of Wills, Second Edition is written primarily with legal practitioners in mind and will be of practical use in construction and probate litigation matters. This book will also be a useful resource for academic lawyers, students engaged in professional courses and those undertaking postgraduate law degrees.
Content includes
Part One: General Principles of Construction
The Intention of the Testator
Extrinsic Evidence of Intention
General Principles of Construction
The Falsa Demonstratio Rule
The Intention to Revoke a Will
The Presumption of Revocation
The Intention to Revive Wills by Codicils
Conditional Wills and Wills Made in Contemplation of Marriage or Civil Partnership
The Construction of Wills with Foreign Elements
Part Two: The Construction of Gifts
The Construction of Devises, Legacies and Bequests
The Construction of Powers of Appointment, Class Gifts and Trusts
Conditional Gifts
Uncertain Gifts
The Doctrine of Lapse
The Ademption of Gifts
Equitable Doctrines
Part Three: Constructive and Interpretative Methodology
Constructive and Interpretative Methodology
Interpretative Sources of Law
Statutory Provisions and Principles of Evidence
Interactive Statutory Provisions
The Meaning of a State of Testacy
Interpretative Construction of Section 13 of the Succession Act 1965
The Survival of Causes of Action

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