Kate Miller Levring executed two wills, the first in 1954, the second in 1955. The latter contained an express revocation clause. Following her death the second will which was last traced to her possession could not be found, thus giving rise to a strong presumption that she had destroyed it with intent to revoke. In an inter-partes proceeding, the executor named in the first will, offered that will for probate. Probate was contested by certain next of kin of the deceased. The only evidence introduced was a statement by the decedent that she planned to make certain undisclosed changes in her second will by a new will rather than by a codicil. The pre- siding judge of the Probate Court, Chancellor Brockenbrough Lamb of the Chancery Court of the City of Richmond, admitted the 1954 will to probate as the true last will of the decedent, on proof that it was executed in conformity with the statute of wills. At the instance of the contestants an appeal has been granted by the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia. How should the court rule? The question presented to the court is whether the 1954 will was revoked, and if so, was it revived by the subsequent revocation of the revoking instrument? This question cannot be fully appreciated without an understanding of the history of the revival of wills in England and in Virginia. This involves a survey of the judge-made rules and the statute designed to change those rules. This development will be illustrated by the use of supposititious cases.
James H. Barnett Jr.,
Revocation and Revival of Wills in Virginia,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
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