Elma Ward died in 2008. Frazier petitioned the court to probate a holographic will made by Ward. The document contains two typewritten sections, separated by one handwritten section. The document reads: Typewritten section October 14, 1987 All of our worldly things, which we owne sic will not be sold, given away, borrowed or otherwise disposed of, until one year after either of our death. The one that is left can do what they think is best for them. This includes house, land, trucks, cars, boats, shop & all contents, and contents of the house.
A signature, purporting to be that of Elma Ward is located here Handwritten section To whom it's sic concerned: Everything we own will be sold at both our deaths. Patricia B. Smith-leave to her $ 1,000 in cash. She has been a dear daughter to her stepdad and me. Jimmy Buchanan $200. Diane Buchanan Moorehead $200. The rest of the cash from the sale be divided between Sheila Willis, Teresa L. Ward Frazier, Robert E. Ward. A notary seal, with the signature of Jimmy Wells, is located here. The date "2/2/99" is handwritten above Mr. Wells's signature, and the date "4/18/2001" is handwritten below Mr. Wells's signature. Typewritten section, identical to that above, is included a second time at this place in the document Following the typewritten section, the document contains the signature of Edward Ward and a second signature purported to be that of Elma K. Ward. A second notary seal follows these signatures, which seal is signed by Jimmy Wells with the handwritten dates of 2/12/99, and 4/18/2001.
Two individuals familiar with Ward's handwriting provided affidavits that the signature on the alleged will was genuine. Ward's son objected to the probate of this document, arguing that it does not meet the statutory requirements for a will because his mother's signature was not directly below the handwritten portion of the will. Tennessee law provides that, "No witness to a holographic will is necessary, but the signature and all its material provisions must be in the handwriting of the testator and the testator's handwriting must be proved by two (2) witnesses." Was this a valid will?

  • CreatedJuly 16, 2014
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