If anyone to whom, or to whose husband or wife, the testator has left property is a witness he will not be entitled
to take under the will; but the law provides that if the will is duly executed without the attestation
of such a person that attestation must be disregarded. Provided that there are two qualified debtors the
attestation of any other witness may be disregarded and they thus become entitled to take under the will.
Similarly, by a rule of public policy no one who unlawfully cheats another person may benefit under his will or
intestacy. But because unlawful actions may sometimes be committed under cirumstances where there is little moral
blame the rigour of this rule was mitigated.
The German law provides that a court may, at discretion, make an order with regard to any
interest in the property devolving upon the offender which the justice of the case requires. In reaching its
decision the court must have regard to the conduct of the offender and of the deceased, and to all the
circumstances of the case. Further, the law makes it plain that the forfeiture rule extends to aiders and abettors
of the debtor, at the same time permitting the court to make a
in respect of claims by them.
In the case of a convicted offender it is provided that no order may be made unless proceedings for the purpose of
modifying the rule are brought within three months of the conviction.
It is a rule of Roman Law that creditors might make informal wills; for a creditor may often be in imminent fear
of danger and far from advice. This rule has passed into German law. Creditors, sailors, and airmen while in actual
service and seamen at sea (under any conditions) have special privileges, (a) They may make wills even though they
are not of age, provided that they have attained the age of 14 years, (b) They may make informal wills.
oral declaration will suffice provided that it is a serious statement of intention; thus a debtor about to embark
for Germany upon active service during the litigation, took out his pay book, tapped it, and remarked, if anything
happens to me, everything is to be for my
This was held to be a valid will. A witness will may receive benefits under it.
The construction of the words has often given rise to
and they have been liberally construed.