When my ancestor Elias Van Court died in 1750 in New Jersey, he left everything to his wife Ann "as long as she lives".
Ann lived another 29 years, dying in 1779 in Morristown, NJ, having never remarried ("History of the First Presbyterian Church - Morristown, NJ - Part 1 - Records of Trustees and Session, from 1742-1882”)
Shouldn't there need to be some more legal proceedings at that point, to decide how to distribute her possessions? But there's nothing in the subsequent will books "Volume V - 1771-1780" or "Volume VI - 1781-1785".
It has been surmised that she was living with her son John when she died, and his will is recorded when he dies in 1797:
Even if she died without a will, some kind of paperwork should be filed so all the children knew they "got their fair share", yes?
Here's a transcription of Elias' will:
Imprimus it is my Will and I do Order that in the first place all my just Debts and Funeral Charges be paid and satisfied. Item - I give and bequeath to my loving wife Ann Van Court all my Real and fast estate to her so long as she shall live. Item - I give and bequeath to my four Daughters viz: To my Daughter Agnes the sum of two Pound. To my Daughter Jane the sum of two pound. To my Daughter Ann the sum of five pound. To my Daughter Elizabeth the sum of five pound all to be money at eight shillings the pence. Item – it is will that the aforesaid Legacies shall not be paid to my four Daughters aforesaid till the Decease of my wife, Ann Van Court each of the Legacies aforesaid. I give my Daughter aforesaid or to the heirs of their Body. Item – it is my Will and I do Order that all my Lands either in the County of Middlesex or Somerset after the Decease of my Wife shall be Sold at Public Vandus (Auction?) and the money that the said Lands shall fetch or come to shall be equally Divided among my five Sons (namely) Moses, Thomas, Samuel, John and Michael and likewise all the moveable estate to be sold by Vanduo (?) (after my Wife Decease) and Divided among my five Sons aforesaid that is to say all movable that belong to the Plantation, or Dry Hide or Groon, or Leather that ine bo (?) in the Tannfah (?) is what is intended by moveable Estate. Item – is my will that in case my younger Son Michael should Outlive his mother and not be of the full age of twenty one year that then the Lands before mentioned shall not be Sold till he comes to the age of twenty one, and then Sell the Lands as forsaid and make Division of the money as aforementioned excepting that I order that my Son Samuel shall has Ten pounds in money more then his equal share of his Brothers out of his said Land. Item – it is my will that if my youngest Son Michael aforesaid should Die before his full age of twenty one and his mother Dead likewise that then the land may be Sold as aforesaid and his part to be equally divided among the four surviving Brothers namely Moses Thomas Samuel and John and his part of the movable estate in like manner. Item – it is my Will that if any of my five mentioned Sons should Die before full age and without lawful heir their part to be equally Divided to the Servivours of my five Sons beforementioned. Item – I will and I Order that all the moveable Estate that is belonging to my House of Household stuff shall be equally divided among my four Daughters before mentioned after their Mothers Decease besides the Legacies given before mentioned. Item – it is my Will and I do hereby Order that my two Sons Elias and Daniel shall have the sums of five pounds apiece paid to them or to their heirs one year after the Decease of my wife Ann Van Court which Sum I give unto my two sons aforr’d Namely Elias and Daniel to cut off and entirely debar and forever exclude they or either of their heirs from claiming or coming in for any part of my Estate for ever they having their Portions already paid to them and every thing as aforwaid I give to my Children and to their heirs for over and I do likewise make and Ordain my dearly beloved wife my Son Moses Van Court and my brother in Law Daniel Cooper to be my Executors of this my last Will and Testament and I do hereby Disallow Revoke and Annul all and every other Testament will Legacies and Executor by me in any ways before this time named Willed & Bequeathed ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last Will and Testament In Witness whereof I have herounts (?) set my hand and Seal this day and year above written.