In re Groffman

The Facts

  • T died 3 years after executing a will at the home of the Blocks
  • Widow challenged validity of execution
  • If it was valid, W would have to share the estate
  • If it was invalid, W would take entire estate by intestacy

Procedural History

  • W claimed that T and both witnesses were not present together when T acknowledged his signature

The Issue

Whether the T’s will had been executed validly

The Rule

  • Under the English statute, a T is permitted either (1) to acknowledge his prior signature to both witnesses at the same time or (2) sign the will before both witnesses

The Holding/Disposition

  • No

Court’s Reasoning

  • T did acknowledge his signature to both witnesses, but not simultaneously
  • Court was perfectly satisfied that T intended for the document to be executed as his will
  • However, the court must apply the statute and under that statute the will was not validly executed
  • Court refused to admit will to probate

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