Chapter 01 - Wills

Chapter 01 - Wills

40.0101 Disposal of property by will.

Any person of full age and sound mind may dispose by will of all his property, subject to the right of dower in the surviving spouse, and subject to the provisions of 37.0201 et seq.

40.0102 Execution of wills.

All wills, except wills involving personal property with a total value of not more than $300, must be in writing, signed by the testator or some person in his presence and by his express direction, and the signature of the testator, or the person acting for him must be witnessed by 2 competent persons who shall sign their names thereto as attesting witnesses.

40.0103 Right of dower.

One-third in value of all the legal or equitable estate in real or personal property possessed by a decedent at the time of his death shall be set apart to the surviving spouse in fee simple, subject to the provisions of 37.0201 et seq., regarding alienation of land. This right of the surviving spouse shall be known as dower.

40.0104 Presumption that devise or legacy to wife is in lieu of dower.

When the surviving spouse is named as a devisee or legatee in a will, it shall be presumed that such devise or legacy is in lieu of dower, but this presumption may be overcome by clear and explicit evidence of a contrary intention on the part of the testator.

40.0105 Election against will.

A surviving spouse may elect to take dower instead of property devised or bequeathed to such spouse. The election must be made by filing with the Clerk of the High Court a written notice of intention to take dower within 90 days after the admission of the will to probate.

40.0106 Chapter not applicable to communal property.

The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to communal property held under the Samoan custom.