14 Pages

Introduction: Devising, Dying, and Dispute in Early Modern England

The significant quantity of evidence that these disputes produced records that shed light on the processes of will-making and dying, as well as on the dynamics of family relations. Each allegation recited that the will-maker was of sound mind at the time the testamentary act was formulated and executed, and that the will, if written, had been duly executed that is to say, signed and published by the will-maker, and witnessed by at least two persons who were present at the time of its execution. The narratives presented by the parties, though they often conflicted, offer insights into the processes of dying and of will-making. From an executor, an administrator, or a third party with custody of the deceased's goods. In addition to causes involving conflicting wills, the testamentary litigation raised more directly significant numbers of other authenticity questions. English folk continued to settle their affairs by will on the deathbed, and that predisposition often led to testamentary litigation.