Law School Case Brief
Estate of Gonzalez - 2004 ME 109, 855 A.2d 1146
By requiring only the "material provisions" to be in the testator's handwriting, rather than requiring, as some existing statutes do, that the will be "entirely" in the testator's handwriting, a holograph under Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 18, § 2-503 may be valid even though immaterial parts such as date or introductory wording be printed or stamped. A valid holograph might even be executed on some printed will forms if the printed portion could be eliminated and the handwritten portion could evidence the testator's will.
Beneficiaries of a holographic will petitioned to probate the will. The children of the decedent moved for summary judgment, arguing that the will was not a valid holographic will. The decedent had filled in certain blank spaces in a preprinted will form with various bequests. He then signed the form. The trial court denied the motion and found that the will was a valid holographic will. The children appealed, arguing that the will was not a valid holographic will because a material provision of the will--evidence of testamentary intent-- appeared in the preprinted portion of the document and was not handwritten. They maintained that the handwritten words were a list of what the decedent wanted to do with his property, but the handwritten words did not indicate that the conveyances were testamentary in nature.
Is the will, which consisted of a pre-printed form on which the decedent filled in some of the blank spaces, a valid holographic will?
The trial court's judgment was affirmed. The court held that printed portions of a will form could be incorporated into a holographic will where the trial court found a testamentary intent, considering all of the evidence. The preprinted portions of the form at issue stated testamentary intent, and because the blanks in those portions were filled in by the decedent's handwriting, they became a valid statement of testamentary intent sufficient for a holographic will.
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