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It is and has long been the all but universal rule that one must be of sound mind to make a will that will stand. It is so laid down in the statutes of nearly all the States. If this rule were rigidly observed, many more wills would be set aside than are. But the courts have greatly relaxed it, so that absolute soundness of mind is now by no means a condition to the making of valid bequests. The old English law was that a single foolish word would spoil a will, and so recent a chancellor as Lord Brougham decided that any degree of mental perversion would be fatal. But when Sir Alexander Cockburn came to the bench, he changed the whole current of the English law on that point. In the case of Banks v. Goodfellow, 5 Q. B. 549, he stated in the clearest and most
CHANEY HA. RESPONSIBILITY IN WILL-MAKING. Read in the Section of Neurology and Medical Jurisprudence, at the Forty-third annual meeting of the American Medical Association, held in Detroit, Mich., June 7, 1892. JAMA. 1892;XIX(12):337–343. doi:10.1001/jama.1892.02420120011001f
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