Animo testandi

Animo testandi

Literal Meaning

With an intention of making a will.

Explanation & Origin

The maxim originated from the words animo which means intention and testandi which means testamentary

An intention to make a testament or will. This is required to make a valid will; for whatever form may have been adopted, if there was no animus testandi, there can be no will.

The great requisite of a will is animo testandi not in any general sense , but in reference to script propounded as a will.

The animo testandi is the very point into which the court of probate is to enquire the mere act of witnessing or signing does not exclude of necessity the absence of the animo testandi , any more than the mere act of cancellation exclude of necessity in the absence of intention to revoke.

It is animo testandi that gives an instrumental testamentary character.

The animo testandi may be implied , and if an instrument speaks for itself and is by its terms a testamentary disposition of property , the law will presume that the maker signed it understandingly and intended it as his will , if legal proof of its execution is furnished.


An idiot or a mentally retard person, can make no will, because he has no intention.

Case Reference

Griffin and Amos V. Ferard [1 curt. 100]

Where a paper upon the face of it does not purport to be of a testamentary nature , it is necessary to prove that it was written animo testandi ; for there seems to be this distinction in the consideration of papers which are in their terms dispositive and those which are of an equivocal character , that the first will be entitled to probate unless they are proved not to have been written animo testandi , whilst in the latter the animus must be proved by the party claiming under it .

Napper V. Napper [10 Jur. 342 prerog. Crt., 24th March 1846]

A deceased left paper dated 1843 , with these words : as I intend to make another will , I hereby certify and declare by this that I do decree and wish that all and any my former will and testament made and executed by me previous to the date of intents and purposes , and that my meaning is to make some other , and execute the same the first opportunity or that my said personal property shall be divided among my children according to law. The paper was propounded by the direction of the Court in order that evidence might be taken as to the animo testandi ; that being insufficient , administration was granted as though the deceased were dead intestate.

Green V. Skipworth [1 Phill. 58]

A will having been made in reply to interrogatories will not weaken its validity ; but where a will is so made , the Court would be more upon its guard against importunity and undue influence ; but where there is clear capacity , if there is the animo testandi ; and the intention is reduced into writing , the Court must pronounce for such will.

Mt. Chunna Kunwar And Ors. vs Mt. Rasili Kunwar And Others  [AIR 1949 All 655]

It was held that in case of an oral will, as already observed, it is necessary that the testator must have declared such intentions “animo testandi” and if it is a written will, that is relied upon, the Court must be satisfied that the testator intended that the writing relied upon should be operative after his death as his will.

Edited by Vigneshwar Ramasubramania

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

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