Freedom of testation developed slowly, and nowhere does it exist without limitations.
Freedom of testation implies the freedom of making provision for charity.
- A prominent role was played by the Church. It wanted funds for its activities, which included the bulk of medieval education, charity and cultivation of the arts.
- Shortly after the Norman Conquest, the Church succeeded in getting jurisdiction on succession upon death to personal property.
After the Norman conquest a compromise was worked out between the king and the church, under which the Royal courts exercised jurisdiction over real property, while succession to personal property was the concern of the ecclesiastical courts.
The Church encouraged freedom of testation which allowed a person to leave part of his property to the church.