Sunday, January 30, 2011

More Than One Way To Skin A Cat or Change A Will

My grandparents lived outside of Delmar, close to St George's Church on a small farm of about 26 acres. When my grandfather died in 1936 his will was typical of the wills made in that time period and before. In the will he allowed my grandmother to continue living on the property and on her death or remarriage the land was distributed to their sons, with an allowance made for their one daughter. As I said up until about 75 years ago this was typical of the wills. The wives were not deemed capable of managing property or financial affairs. Just a hundred years before that wives were not even deemed capable of raising their children after the death of their husband and a male guardian was appointed by the courts to oversee the welfare of the children.

Anyway my Grandmother was much disturbed by the will, she felt strongly she had worked just as hard for the farm as her husband had. Her answer to the problem was to not pay the taxes on the farm. The farm went to a tax sale and she bought the farm with the withheld tax money. The farm was now in her name, thusly voiding out the wishes of the will.

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