Testamentary Intent Law and Legal Definition

Testamentary intent refers to a testator’s intention with respect to a particular instrument that functions as his/her last will. Testamentary intent is required for a will to be valid. The existence of testamentary intent is not a matter of inference, but is expressed so that no mistake is made as to the existence of that intention. However, inquiry may be made into all relevant circumstances where the existence of testamentary intent is in doubt. A testamentary intent is also clearly deducible from the writing itself. A testamentary intent should also meet other formalities required for a will. In Estate of Pagel, 52 Cal. App. 2d 38 (Cal. App. 1942), it was held that testamentary intent is never retroactive.