In re Snide

The Facts

  • T  and W intended to make execute mutual wills at a common execution ceremony
  • Each, by mistake, executed the will of the other
  • No other issues w/ execution of wills
  • No issue as to T’s testamentary capacity
  • Other than differences in names, wills were identical
  • T has W and 3 children, 1 of which is a minor w/ GAL

Procedural History

  • W offered will that T signed for probate
  • GAL objected to admission of will since it would pass everything to W and child would take under intestacy succession
  • PC allowed admission to probate.
  • AC reversed

The Issue

  • Whether T lacked the required testamentary intent since he never intended to execute the document he actually signed

The Rule

  • When dealing with identical mutual wills both simultaneously executed with statutory formality, the wills may be read together to find testamentary intent.

The Holding/Disposition

  • No, AC decision reversed, PC decision reinstated

Court’s Reasoning

  • It is essential to the validity of the will that T was possessed of testamentary intent, however, Court disagrees that this intent is wholly attached to the document prepared
  • This wills should be read together
  • Although T mistakenly signed the will prepared for W, it is significant that the dispositive provisions in both wills, except for the names, are identical.
  • It would be ironic, if not perverse, to rule that because the mistake was so obvious and the intentions so clear the will must be nullified and not sustained.

Dissents or Concurrences

  • Worried that this decision is the first step in the wrong direction toward judicial imagination relating to wills

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