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If a scrivener's error has misled the testator into executing a will on the belief that it will be valid notwithstanding the testator's subsequent marriage, extrinsic evidence of that error is admissible to establish the intent of the testator that his or her will be valid notwithstanding the subsequent marriage. Furthermore, if those two facts, namely, the scrivener's error and its effect on the testator's intent, are established by clear and convincing evidence, they will be sufficient to establish that provision has been made in such will for such contingency, within the meaning of Conn. Gen. Stat. § 45a-257 (a).
Decedent, Ronald K. Erickson, prepared a will two days before his marriage to the executrix and provided that the executrix receive the estate. Although Conn. Gen. Stat. § 45a-257(a) provided that a will was revoked by marriage where there was no provision for the marriage, and the decedent's will did not provide for the marriage, the probate court admitted the will to probate. Plaintiff daughter, Alicia Erickson, appealed from the decree of the Probate Court. The trial court held that the decedent’s will provided for the contingency of marriage, but granted the plaintiff’s motion in limine to exclude certain extrinsic evidence of the decedent's intentions. On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the trial court improperly concluded that the decedent's will provided for the contingency of marriage. The defendant claimed on her cross appeal that the trial court improperly excluded certain extrinsic evidence regarding the decedent's intent.
The court found that the will was improperly admitted because there was no language in the will providing for the contingency of the subsequent marriage. However, extrinsic evidence should have been admitted to establish the decedent's intent so that his will would be valid notwithstanding the subsequent marriage if a scrivener's error misled the decedent into executing a will on the belief that it would be valid despite the marriage. In order to rebut the presumption that the decedent did not intend for the will to survive his marriage, the executrix had to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the will did not substantially state the decedent's true intent and that the decedent intended for the will to survive the marriage.