Freedom of testation

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Freedom of testation is the power of a person to make a will and testament specifying whatever heirs they please. It is historically associated with English common law, and contrasted with forced heirship, where part or all of the estate is automatically inherited by the next of kin. Opponents of absolute freedom of testation have pointed to the possibility of a widow or orphan being left destitute while property of a spouse or parent is bequeathed to others. Some opponents of inheritance tax have characterized it as an abrogation of freedom of testation.


After the Norman conquest of England, the Christian church succeeded in allowing a person to leave part of his property to the church to use them as funds for its activities.

In law of the Republic of Ireland, the Succession Act 1965 reduces freedom of testation by guaranteeing provision for the spouse and children of the deceased.[1][2]


  • Nussbaum, Arthur (March 1937). "LIBERTY OF TESTATION". American Bar Association Journal. 23 (3): 183–186. JSTOR 25712364.
  1. ^ "Succession Act, 1965". Irish Statute Book. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  2. ^ Callely, Ivor (17 May 2005). "Registration of Wills". Seanad Éireann debates. Retrieved 23 August 2016.