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be no such issue at the time of the death of such testator or testatrix, the estate disposed of by such devise or legacy shall be considered and treated in all respects as intestate estate. (R. S., Sec. 14.)
Codicils must be executed in the same manner as wills, and no will, testament, or codicil, shall be revoked otherwise than by burning, cancelling, tearing, or obliterating the same by the testator himself, or in his presence, by his direction or consent, or by some other will, testament, or codicil in writing, declaring the same, signed by the testator or testatrix, in the presence of two or more witnesses, and by them attested in his or her presence, and no words spoken shall revoke or annul any will, testament, or codicil in writing, executed as aforesaid, in due form of law. (R. S., Sec. 15.)
Every devise ci land or any estate therein, by a married man, shall bar his surviving widow's right of dower therein, unless otherwise expressed in the will, but she may elect whether she will take such devise or bequest, or whether she will renounce the benefit of such devise or bequest, and take her dower in the lands. And she will be deemed to have elected to such jointure or devise, unless within one year after the authentication or probate of the will, she shall deliver or transmit to the Court of Probate of the proper county, a written renunciation. (R. S. 199, Sec. 11.)
THE PROBATE AND RECORDING OF WILLS.
When any will, testament, or codicil shall be exhibited in the Court of Probate* for probate thereof, it shall be the duty of the court to receive the probate of the same without delay, and to grant letters testamentary thereon to the person or persons entitled, and to do all other needful acts to enable the parties concerned to make settlement of the estate at as early a day as shall be consistent with the rights of the respective persons interested therein: provided, however, that if any person interested shall within five years after the probate of any such will, testament, or codicil, in the Court of Probate as aforesaid, appear, and by his or her bill in chancery contest the validity of the same, an issue at law shall be made up, whether the writing produced be the will of the testator or testatrix or not; which shall be tried by a jury, in the Circuit Court of the county wherein such will, testament, or codicil shall have been proved and recorded as aforesaid, according to the practice in courts of
* The County Court is invested with all of the powers and jurisdiction formerly exercised by the Probate Court, which is now abolished. (Laws of Ill., p. 65, Sec. 13.)
The County Court was created by the same act by which the Probate Court was abolished and holds its sessions for the transaction of business at the Court-house, or usual place of holding courts in the several counties, on the first Monday of each month, except the months of December, March, June, and September, and on the third Mondays of said months, and continues open day by day, until all the business before it be disposed of.
chancery in similar cases; but if no such person shall appear within the time aforesaid, the probate as aforesaid shall be forever binding and conclusive on all the parties concerned, saving to infants, femmes covert, persons not compos mentis or absent from the State, the like period after the removal of their respective disabilities. And in all such trials by jury, as aforesaid, the certificate of the oaths of the witnesses at the time of the first probate shall be admitted as evidence, and to have such weight as the jury shall think it may deserve. (R. S., p. 537, Sec. 6.)
On the probate of any will at least two credible attesting witnesses are required to be sworn and examined, and before the same can be admitted to record such witnesses must have declared, on oath or affirmation, that they were present and saw the testator or testatrix sign said will, testament, or codicil in their presence, and heard him or her acknowledge the same to be his or her act and deed; and they believed the testator or testatrix to be of sound mind and memory at the time of signing or acknowledging the same. (R. S., p. 536, Sec. 2.)
It shall be the duty of each and every witness to any will, testament, or codicil, made and executed in this State as aforesaid, to be and appear before the Court of Probate on the regular day for probate of such will, testament, or codicil, to testify of and concerning the execution and validity of the same, and the said Court of Probate shall have power and authority to attach and punish by fine and imprisonment, or either, any witness who shall, without a reasonable excuse, fail to appear when duly summoned for the purpose aforesaid; provided the said punishment by imprisonment shall in no case exceed the space of twenty days, nor shall a greater fine be assessed for any such default than the sum of fifty dollars.
When any will, testament, or codicil shall be produced to the Court of Probate for probate of the same, and any witness attesting such will, testament, or codicil shall reside without the limits of this State, it shall be lawful for the Probate Justice to issue a dedimus potestatem, or commission annexed to such will, testament, or codicil, directed to some judge, justice of the peace, mayor, or other chief magistrate of the city, town, or corporation, or county where such witness may be found, authorizing the taking and certifying of his or her attestation in due form of law. And if the person to whom any such commission shall be directed, shall certify in the manner that such acts are usually authenticated, that the witness personally appeared before him and made oath or affirmation that the testator or testatrix signed and published the writing annexed to such commission as his or her last will and testament; or, that some other person signed it by his or her direction, that he or she subscribed his or her name as a witness thereto in the presence of the testator or testatrix, and at his or her request; such oath or affirmation shall have the same operation, and the will shall be admitted to probate in like manner, as if such oath or affirmation had been made in the Court of Probate from whence such commission issued. (R. S., p. 537, Sec. 4.)
Any will, testament, and codicil, or authenticated copies thereof, proven according to the laws of any of the United States or Territories thereof, or of any country out of the limits of the United States, and touching or concerning estates within this State, accompanied with a certificate of the proper officer or officers that such will, testament, codicil, or copy thereof, was duly executed and proved agreeebly to the laws and usages of that State or country in which the same was executed, shall be recorded as aforesaid, and shall be good and available in law, in like manner as wills made and executed in this State. (R. S., p. 538, Sec. 8.)
Form of Attestation. Signed, sealed, published, and declared, by the said John Warren, as and for his last will and testament, in the presence of us, who, at the request of the said John Warren, and in his presence, and in the presence of each othe”, have hereunto subscribed our names, and respective places of residence, as witnesses.
TITLE TO REAL ESTATE BY INHERITANCE.
The Statutes provide that the estates, both real and personal, of resident or non-resident proprietors dying intestate, or whose estates or any part thereof shall be deemed and taken as intestate estate, and after all just debts and claims against such estates shall be paid as aforesaid, shall descend to and be distributed to his or her children and their descendants in equal parts: the descendants of a deceased child or grandchild taking the share of their deceased parent in equal parts among them; and when there shall be no children of the intestate, nor descendants of such children, and no widows, then to the parents, brothers and sisters of the deceased person and their descendants in equal parts among them, allowing to each of the parents, if living, a child's part, or to the survivor of them, if one be dead, a double portion; and if there be no parent living, then to the brothers and sisters of the intestate and their descendants. When there shall be a widow and no child or children, or descendants of a child or children of the intestate, then the one-half of the real estate and the whole of the personal estate shall go to such widow as her exclusive estate forever, subject to her absolute disposition and control, to be governed in all respects by the same rules and regulations as are or may be provided in case of estates of femme sole: if there be no children of the intestate, or descendants of such children, and no parents, brothers or sisters, or descendants of brothers and sisters, and no widow, then such estate shall descend in equal parts to the next of kin to the intestate in equal degree, computing by the rules of the civil law; and there shall be no representation among collaterals, except with the descendants of the brothers and sisters of the intestate; and in no case shall there be a distinction between the kindred of the whole and the half blood : saving to the widow in all cases her dower, as provided by law. (R. S., p. 545, Sec. 46.)
When any femme covert shall die intestate, leaving no child or children, or descendants of a child or children, then the one-half of the real estate of the decedent shall descend and go to her husband, as his exclusive estate forever. (R. S., p. 546, Sec. 47.)
Upon the decease of any alien, having title to or interest in any lands or tenements, such lands and tenements shall pass and descend in the same manner as if such alien were a citizen of the United States; and it shall be no objection to any person having an interest in such estate, that they are not citizens of the United States, but all such persons shall have the same rights and remedies, and in all things be placed on the same footing as natural born citizens and actual residents of the United States. (R. S., p. 48, Sec. 1.)
It is further provided, that if any person shall die seized of any real estate, without having devised the same, and leaving no heirs or representatives capable of inheriting the same, or the devisees thereof capable of holding the same, such estate shall escheat to and vest in the State. (R. S., p. 225, Sec. 1.)
THE LEVY AND COLLECTION OF LAND TAXES.
All real estate within the State is liable to taxation, except such as belongs to the State or to the United States; lands sold by the United States within the preceding five years; lands belonging to township school-funds; lands whereon any school-house, court-house, or jail, shall have been erected; lands not exceeding five acres, whereon any county buildings are situated; not exceeding ten acres, whereon any church shall have been erected; burial grounds, not exceeding ten acres, and grounds on which any building belonging to any literary, religious, benevolent, charitable, or scientific institution, shall be situated, not exceeding ten acres.
The Statutes invest the County Commissioners' Court with the power to levy taxes in their respective counties for county purposes, under the restrictions that they shall not, unless specially authorized by law, levy a tax that shall exceed four mills on each dollar's worth of property.
The Treasurer, in the capacity of Assessor, upon the receipt of such transcript and list, is required to prepare a list of all taxable property within his county, and to proceed to assess the value thereof by going to the place of residence of such owner of taxable property within his county. And if he shall deem it necessary, he may require every owner of taxable property " to give in under oath, either by himself or agent, a list and description of all his taxable lands, by townships, ranges, quarter sections, tracts, lots, or parts thereof, and the number in each tract, with the improvements thereon; all town lots, with the improvements thereon; all pleasure carriages, whether with two or four wheels; all horses, mares, jacks, jennies, mules, indentured servants, neat cattle, ships and vessels, stocks, money on hand and at interest, household furniture, and every other description of personal property; all capital employed each year in merchandising, adopting as a criterion the value of the greatest amount of goods on hand at any time in the year: and he (the Assessor) shall, in the presence of such person, enter the same in his book, and value each tract or lot separately, and each species of personal property separately, placing the description and value in figures opposite the name of the person owning or listing the same; provided, that unimproved town-lots may be listed and assessed in blocks. (R. S., p. 439, Sec. 16.)
The minimum value of all lands in this State, for the purposes of taxation, is three dollars per acre.
If any Assessor shall be unable to find the owner of any lands or lots contained in his list, he shall value the same according to the best information he can procure, and enter the same on his list in the name of the patentee or present owner, if known. (R. S., p. 440, Sec. 17.)
If any person shall give a false or fraudulent list, or refuse to deliver to the Assessor, when called on for that purpose, a list of his or her taxable property as required by law, the said Assessor, as a penalty therefor, shall assess the property of such person at double its value. (R. S., Sec. 18.)
Lands and town lots owned by non-residents of the country, when once correctly listed for taxation by their owners, shall not be required to be listed again by them, till a subdivion or change of ownership takes place. (R. S., Sec. 20.)
Any person feeling himself aggrieved by the assessment of his property must apply to the County Commissioners' Court, at the September term thereof next succeeding the assessment; and if it shall be made to appear by credible proof, that the valuation of the Assessor was too high, such court in its discretion may order a reduction ; but if he does not apply at the said term, he will be concluded by the assessment as made by the Assessor.
The Sheriff of each county in Illinois is ex officio Collector of Taxes levied therein. After having given a bond to the people of the State for the faithful performance of his duty as Collector of Taxes, it is his duty to receive from the County Commissioners' Clerk the assessed list, and to proceed to collect the taxes charged on said list by calling on each person residing in his county, at his or her usual place of residence, and requiring payment thereof.
Upon the receipt of the list by the Sheriff, a lien upon the property assessed attaches for the tax, and no sale or transfer of the same after that time can defeat or affect such lien. The property may be seized by the Collector, and