In yet another home made Will disaster, the Supreme Court on 27 June ordered that probate be granted of an informal Will.
As tends to be typical of these sorts of matters, the Will maker used a Will kit, and completed it himself.
In this case, while the Will maker had filled out the Will form, he did not sign it. It was signed by two witnesses, but for whatever reason, the Will maker did not get around to signing it himself.
The court was satisfied that the document complied with the requirements of section 18 of the Succession Act in that it:
- Stated the Will maker’s intention as to how his property would pass after his death;
- Was intended to be effective and operate on his death.
The decision was made in respect of a relatively small estate – an estate so small that usually probate would not be required and the expense of it could be avoided.
Because of the deficiencies in the home made Will, a court application has become necessary supported by six affidavits and submissions. Fortunately, the cost of a formal hearing was avoided, saving perhaps something in excess of $5000 but regardless the episode is likely to have unnecessarily cost the estate (and its beneficiaries) well over $5,000.
The circumstances of the matter reinforce yet again the dangers of home made Wills or for that matter, not having a Will properly executed. In effect, the estate will be diminished by costs of several thousand dollars at least, when the cost of preparing the Will would almost certainly have been less than $1000.