Victorian London - Publications - Etiquette and Advice Manuals - Guide to the Unprotected in Every-day Matters relating to Property and Income, by a Banker's Daughter, 1874 - Chapter VI  - Miscellaneous

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GENERALLY comprise the lady's fortune, and a certain proportion of the gentleman's, which are placed in the hands of trustees, to secure a certain income for the lady and her children, in case of her husband's death or bankruptcy. No prudent woman should marry without this provision, as, if it is made before her marriage, however much in debt her husband may become, from extravagance or misfortune, her settlement money cannot be made liable. The friends of the lady should insist upon a proper marriage settlement to the satisfaction of her Lawyer being signed before the marriage. On her return from church, the husband's will should also be signed. It would not be valid if signed [-119-] before marriage.

    The Trustees of a Settlement or Will are responsible for the loss or misapplication of the money entrusted to them, if any is lost through their carelessness. Anyone accepting this office, should thoroughly understand what he undertakes, and never act without the advice of a lawyer, particularly when asked to give consent to a change of investment. He should never, on any account whatever, consent to any investment not authorized by the Will or Settlement. He must also recollect that, though entitled to be repaid all reasonable expenses incurred in his Trusteeship, or in taking advice, &c., he can never make any profit by his office. A Trustee, or his co-Trustee, should have the Marriage Settlement and all Deeds, Share and Stock Certificates, &c. connected with the Trust, in his hands, or in those of his Lawyer, and never leave them in the [-120-] husband's keeping. When so much responsibility is entailed with it, it is but fair, that, on accepting the office, a Trustee should be made fully cognisant of what he undertakes, and what his duties are, and as little trouble should be given him as possible. He should be put to no expense of postage or otherwise. When sending him papers, &c. to sign, enclose the right number of postage-stamps on a proper-sized envelope, addressed to yourself, so that he has nothing to do, after signing, but to re-inclose the papers and send them. A Trustee's office is a burthensome and usually a thankless one, but it is a duty to accept it, when appealed to by a near relation. It is usual to have two Trustees of a Marriage Settlement; one is selected by the lady and the other by the gentleman.


The following instructions should be strictly followed in making and executing a Will. First, [-121-] never make one, if you can possibly help it, without the aid of a lawyer. Secondly, if there be none to be had, and the case is urgent, the following regulations must be attended to in its execution—
    1st. The date should be inserted.
    2d.   You must then, in the presence of two witnesses, sign the Will at the bottom of the writing, also at the bottom of each sheet of it, if it is written on more sheets than one, and say, in the presence and hearing of the witnesses, "I publish and declare this to be my last Will and Testament."
   3d. The witnesses should then sign their names, and add their addresses and qualities at the end of an attestation clause, written at the foot or end of the Will, which may be in the form following, viz.: "Signed by the Testator as his Will, in the presence of us present at the same time, who at his request, in his presence and in the presence of each other, have subscribed our names as witnesses." This must all be done [-122-] at one time, and you and the two witnesses must continue together until every signature is completed. Neither witness must be the husband or wife of the Testator or Testatrix, or a Legatee, or interested in any way (directly or indirectly) under the Will.
    No obliterations, scratchings-out, interlineations, or other alterations, should on any account be made, after the Will has been signed. Those made previously must be noticed in the attestation clause, or be evidenced by the signatures of the Testator and of the two Witnesses.
    It is want of knowledge that makes many people attribute the apparently unnecessary prolixities in a Will made by a Lawyer, to the gratuitous desire to create difficulties. A little more reflection would suffice to show that phrases which seem superfluous, do no more than protect against quite possible contingencies; and that clauses which seem to be framed with the purpose of bewildering, have been suggested by difficulties which have actually occurred in prac-[-123-]tice. A Will made by a Lawyer must be peculiarly worded to convey the meaning and to avoid punctuation, which is not allowable.
    A Will is revoked, if the Testator (whether Male or Female) marry after executing it. If you marry you must remember this, and execute a new Will as soon as you conveniently can after your marriage. In many cases it is a good plan to appoint a residuary legatee or residuary legatees, for all things not specifically left. You will thereby perhaps prevent many discussions and misunderstandings about the relative value of things, and possibly prevent the necessity of a public auction of furniture, clothes, pictures, family relics, and the like, for the sake of an equal division.
    Specific legacies, that is to say, legacies of specified articles or property, do not come under the head of pecuniary legacies; therefore if you desire that not only the pecuniary legacies shall be free of duty, but the specific legacies also, you should expressly mention this in your Will.


    Lapsed Legacy.— The death of a Legatee during the lifetime of a Testator, renders the Legacy void.

    Probate Duty and Legacy Duty are often confounded for one and the same thing. They are totally different taxes.
    Probate Duty is the money payable to Government, out of the Deceased's Estate, on the proof of the Will, and is computed according to the wealth of the Deceased.
    Legacy Duty is the money each Individual has to pay Government for money that has been bequeathed to him. Husbands and Wives have to pay Probate Duty, but do not pay Legacy Duty.

    Executor of a Will is a person appointed by the Testator to carry out the instructions in the Will.

    In making a Will, be careful to appoint one or more Executors, for if no Executor is ap-[-125-]pointed, your friends will have to apply for Letters of Administration, before they can execute the Will. This will cause additional expense, which must be paid out of your estate. If one of your Executors should die in your lifetime, immediately appoint another. If time admits, always get the promise of your friend to act as. Executor before appointing him.

    Intestate.— That is, leaving no Will at your death. In this case, also, an Administration becomes necessary, and the Government duty and other expenses are materially increased, to the loss of your family.

    Letters of Administration will be granted, on application to the principal Registrar, or to the District Registrar of the Probate Court, within which the deceased was resident at his death.

    Make a Will as soon as you have any property to dispose of. Make a point of reading it over [-126-] once a year on a stated day — say your birthday. Circumstances are constantly changing, which require a corresponding change in your Will. Much injustice may be avoided by attending to this rule.

    Married Women and Widows should bear in mind, when making their Will, that it is advisable to let their solicitor see their Marriage Settlements. It frequently occurs that the Will is of little or no use, through the Solicitor not understanding how the Settlements may clash with the Lady's instructions.

    In making a Will, it should be remembered that money will be required for Probate Duty, which often amounts to a considerable sum, and also for Funeral expenses, Doctor's bill, Wages, and any unpaid debts at decease, &c. The very act of dying is expensive. People are apt to think they can will away all their money, forgetting that Government steps in and claims a considerable share.

    [-127-] Widows, and all who are Life Annuitants, should bear in mind to live well within their income, as generally the whole of their money is one of life interest, and there will be no fund to fall back upon to pay Funeral expenses, Doctor's bills, Wages, &c., when they die, but their savings.

    When a Death occurs, if it is one of the principal members of the family, find out at once who is the Executor, and send to him, or for the Family Attorney, or some proper person, to seal up drawers, papers, and everything of consequence. Many disagreeables in a family may be spared in after years, by doing this.
    The Will is best not opened till after the funeral, and then by the Executor, in the presence of the Solicitor and any near relatives.
    On an early day after the funeral, it will be necessary to ascertain the value of the Deceased's possessions, in order to get a Probate of the Will, to enable the Executors to enter on their [-128-] duties, pay the debts, &c. All money (even the balance at the Bankers) is tied up, till the Probate is obtained. The necessity of valuing the furniture, books, prints, &c. &c. as well as the rest of the property, is owing to the Executors having to take an oath, that, as near as they know, the value of the Deceased's property is under a specified amount. When the value of the Deceased's possessions is ascertained, then, and not till then, can the Executor apply for a Probate. Your Attorney will manage this. It will be necessary to borrow or provide a sum of money, to pay the Duty charged by Government on the Probate.
    Unless specially directed by the Will, an Executor is not bound to pay any Legacies for a year after the Testator's death. This time is given by law, to ascertain the amount of debt to which the Estate is liable, and to collect assets.
    If the Heir at Law has reason to believe the Will is irregular, or has been tampered with, he [-129-] should consult his Attorney at once. Many people think they are unfairly used, if they cannot get their bills paid immediately after a person's death. They should know that no money can be touched, till the Probate has been obtained, and even then, there may be no ready money available for some time, after paying the numerous expenses, Probate Duty, &c. consequent on the death.
    When Executors sign their names to Cheques or Deeds, they should sign one after another thus:—

M. A. B.

Executors to the late —

and sign always in the same order of precedence.
    An Executor should take especial care of all receipts for Legacy Duties that have been paid. Their children or Representatives have been called upon to produce them, even after thirty years have elapsed, and where the receipts have [-130-] been mislaid, they have had to pay the Duties a second time.
    No Executor or Administrator may purchase the goods of the Deceased.


    In all special matters of business in which you have to employ a third person, such as an Agent, Broker, Commissioner &c., you should ascertain before employing him, what his charges are. It may save annoyance on both sides when the Agent's bill comes in, and prevent an overcharge being made, which it may be difficult and disagreeable to settle satisfactorily afterwards. There is certainly the resource of the County Court, but it is not everyone, especially a lady, who likes to appear there to give evidence. Even if they do so, ladies have small chances in their favour, under a severe and ungenerous cross-examination.


    Servants' Characters.— Some people keep a small book, in which they enter the Servant's name, age, and qualification; where he lived last, and when he entered their service, &c. On the following pages, they write the receipt for him to sign. This is very convenient, as it is easy of reference when you are asked the character of a Servant. The character you receive of a Servant should be carefully kept; if a good one, it may be of great consequence to him, as many employers object to give the same person a character twice.

    Servants' Wages, &c. — Much may be done by a little method, such as paying Servants their wages at stated times. Quarterly is generally preferred; for instance, if a Servant enters your employment in February, pay him or her up to the quarter at Lady Day, finding out by a wage table (which is in the Ready Reckoner, and also in most Almanacs,) what you owe, and then continue to pay at the usual quarters. 


Each Servant should give a receipt with a stamp, if above £2, and sign a receipt like this

Received of C.D. the sum of £8 6s. 6d. in full payment of my wages, up to this first day of January, 1863.

John Baring

£8 : 6 : 6

    Servants are entitled to be paid their wages monthly. In the event of Bankruptcy, they are entitled to be paid a sum not exceeding the period of four months' wages in full, and not exceeding £50 in amount, and have the preference of other creditors.

    Hiring.— At the time of hiring, in order to avoid future disputes, it is desirable to come to a distinct understanding whether the Employer or Servant is to provide washing, and whether tea, sugar, and beer, are or are not included in [-133-] the wages. Also, if perquisites are allowed or not, and if they are, to have them defined.

    Masters and Mistresses should put away all temptation, by paying or having their own bills paid weekly or monthly, and, above all, by not running into debt with their Servants. Upper Servants are expected to keep money by them, to pay numerous current expenses, such as parcels by railway, cab fares, letters forwarded to visitors, &c. The Servant is seldom repaid till the payments have amounted to at least £1 or £2; this is very hard, as his money might be otherwise employed in the Savings' Bank or Funds, and bring him in interest. If Masters and Mistresses would give the Servant a certain sum of money in hand, to meet these constantly-recurring small expenses, and settle with him regularly, it would be a boon to the Servant.
    When Servants are left upon Board Wages, Masters should be especially careful to prepay them regularly, as Servants are often obliged to [-134-] pay twopence or threepence more for all article of food, by purchasing on credit.

    Agreements in writing for the hire of Domestic Servants are exempt from duty.

    Book about Servants. — There is an excellent book published "On the Rights, Duties, and Relations of Domestic Servants and their Masters and Mistresses," by T. Henry Bayliss, M.A. Barrister-at-Law; with additions by E. P. Monckton.

    Government Insurances and Annuities. — You can obtain the principal rules at the Post Office, in any large town.

    Post Office Savings Banks. — In all towns, and most large villages, you can invest money in these, by taking it to the principal Post Office.

 [-135-] When travelling, and you wish your letters forwarded, write:—

Place. Date.

Sir, — Please to forward my letters until further notice, to the following address:—
             A. B.
                 Post Office,

                    I beg to remain,
                        Yours obediently,
                                     C. D.

To the Postmaster of G—



    Property Tax is a tax on land, houses, cottages, shops, money in the Funds, and the like.
    Income Tax is a tax on professions, trade, and the like.
    Both Property and Income Tax are frequently altered in amount by Act of Parliament: the  [-136-]  change generally takes place on April 5th. No person whose income is less than £100 a year is liable to pay either Tax. The Property Tax on Dividends, is generally deducted by the Government or by the Company paying the same; and if you are not liable to pay, or if too much has been deducted, your way to recover the amount is to apply to the Surveyor of Taxes, who will supply you with the necessary papers.
    The Property Tax must, in the first instance, be paid by tile Tenant, but the Landlord subsequently allows it to the Tenant on payment of the rent.

    Assessed Taxes are Taxes on Male Servants, Horses, Dogs, Carriages, Armorial Bearings, Game Licenses and Certificates, &c. The Charges may be found in most Pocket-books, and any information you may require may generally be obtained by a written or personal application to the Assessor of Taxes, residing in the parish where the Tax is assessed or imposed.

 [-137-] Persons removing from the Parish or Place without first paying the Duties, render themselves liable to a penalty of £20 ; therefore, when changing your neighbourhood, pay off all taxes in advance.

    Easter Dues or Offerings.— Small customary sums due of common right to the Parson of the Parish; that is, Rector, Vicar, or Perpetual Curate, as the case may be.
    Each Householder in a Parish is liable to the payment of fourpence a head, as an Easter Offering, for every person resident in his or her family, of sixteen years of age or upwards.
    As Easter Dues are essentially religious offerings, larger sums than what can be legally claimed are very generally, and most appropriately given.

    On receiving by the Post a Deed, or other valuable document, or money, acknowledge its receipt by return of post, specifying in your letter what it is that you have received.



    Years' Purchase.— In reckoning the value of land, or other realized property, people say, "It is worth so many years' purchase." The meaning of the phrase is, that the price that may be asked or obtained for the property is so many times the rental or annual product. For example, agricultural land is, on the average, worth from about thirty to thirty-five years' purchase. Therefore, if the rental is £100, the value is probably from £3,000 to £3,500.

    To find the Interest on a Sum of Money — for a year, multiply the principal (which is the money you have invested) by the rate per cent. ; divide the product by 100 the quotient is the interest for one year.

    Example.— What is the interest of £425 for four years at the rate of 5 per cent. per annum ?


            5 (rate per cent)

This, being divided by 100, is

£21 and £25/100; or 500/100 shillings; or 5s.

Therefore, the interest for one year is—

   £    s.   d.
21 : 5 : 0
               4 (number of years)
£85 : 0 : 0 interest for four years at 5 per cent.



    (Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh.) 3s. 6d.

IN RAILWAYS, &c. (Effingham Wilson.) 5s.


THOMSON'S INTEREST TABLES. (Longman and Co.) 3s. 6d.

    By T. Henry Bayliss, with additions by Monckton. (London: Butterworth's.) 2s.

LAW OF MASTER AND SERVANT. By James Walter Smith, Esq. LL.D. (Effingham Wilson.) 1s.

LANDLORDS, TENANTS, AND LODGERS. By J. Bishop. (Dean and Son.) 6d.

LEGAL GUIDE TO LANDLORD, TENANTS, AND LODGERS. By J. T. Akerman, Esq. (London: Pettitt and Co.) 6d.

READY RECKONER. By Masters. (Routledge.) 1s.


ON BOOK KEEPING. By R. G. C. Hamilton, and John Ball. (Clarendon Press Series. Macmillan and Co.) 1s. 6d.

BRITISH POSTAL GUIDE. Published quarterly 6d. By Post 7½d. 

BOOK ON WILLS. By F. V. Hawkins, Esq.

TABLES FOR WORKMEN'S WAGES. By Henry Laxton, C.E. (Letts and Son.) Royal Exchange, E.C.