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Probating Not-Wills

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3 Responses

  1. Guest says:

    Don’t you think intent should trump formality?

  2. David says:

    I have to go with the idea that the most recent formally written form wins, no matter how out of date, but in the absence of a qualifying will, the courts should be allowed to give weight to other writings, recordings, or other acceptable evidence of the intent of the deceased with limited regard to the intestacy laws.

  3. Grace says:

    My problem with Kuralt is not that the court is overriding formality to comply with the decedent’s intent. The issue is that Kuralt’s letter to his mistress promising to have his will changed may have been and was likely insincere. The facts of the case seem to show an intent for her to actually have the property, but not necessarily an intent that she inherit. The fact that he never actually got a lawyer to make the changes is significant. He knew that in order for her to inherit he had to comply with the formalities and didn’t. Granted his illness may have been a factor, but I think it’s just as likely that his hesitance to put her in the formal will is indicative of his intent to keep his extra-marital relationship a secret. The intent of the decedent should be interpreted not only with respect to who is taking and what property is being left, but also how the property is to be transferred. The formalities are still important to show the intent to bequeath, in a public document that will be open to everyone.