Smith v. Edrington - 12 U.S. 66 (1814)
U.S. Supreme Court
Smith v. Edrington, 12 U.S. 8 Cranch 66 66 (1814)
Smith v. Edrington
12 U.S. (8 Cranch) 66
Decided that under the statute of Virginia respecting wills, it is necessary (in order that lands acquired after the date of the will may pass by the will) that the intention of the testator should clearly appear upon the face of the will.
The bill sought to charge the lands of Christopher Edrington in the hands of his son and heir at law, W. P. Edrington, with a debt due by his father, Christopher Edrington, to the complainants by simple contract.
It was contended that the lands passed by the will of Christopher Edrington to his son, W. P. Edrington, charged with the payment of the debts of the testator,
although the lands were acquired by the testator after the date of the will.
The will expressed a desire that all the just debts of the testator should be paid by his executors as soon as the means in their power should permit. It also authorized his executors to dispose of and convey any of his property that might be necessary for payment of his debts, and afterwards it has these expressions:
"Should my son, Wm. P. Edrington, to whom I bequeath the whole of my property, after the payment of my debts, and provisions above made, die under the age of 21 years, I then give,"
&c. The testator then proceeds to make certain pecuniary bequests in the event of his son's so dying, and concludes by disposing of the residue of his property.
At the date of the will, the testator had no lands. Those which the bill sought to charge were purchased a short time before his death.
By an act of the Legislature of Virginia in force at the date of the will, 1 Rev.Co.P.P. 160, it is enacted
"That every person aged 21 years and upwards, being of sound mind, and not a married woman, shall have power, at his will and pleasure, by last will and testament in writing to devise all the estate, right, title and interest in possession, reversion, or remainder which he hath or at the time of his death shall have of, in, or to lands,"
The court below dismissed so much of the complainant's bill as sought to charge the lands in the hands of the heir, and they appealed to this Court.