October 18, 2012
Strict Compliance With Execution Statute Required
The probate court admitted to probate a will that was signed by the testator and a notary public, relying on a statute which states that in the context of an abbreviated probate proceeding, due execution is presumed and the will may be admitted upon the “verified statement” of anyone with personal knowledge reciting facts showing due execution. Affidavits were presented by persons who witnessed the decedent sign the will or heard her state that she had “finalized” her will. The D.C. Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the abbreviated procedure was not a substitute for due execution which requires that two witnesses sign the will in the presence of the testator. In re Estate of Henneghan, 45 A.3d 684 (D.C. Cir. 2012).
Special thanks to William LaPiana (Professor of Law, New York Law School) for bringing this case to my attention.
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