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Matter of Estate of Hand

August 9, 1996

IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF JEFFREY A. HAND, DECEASED


Gottlieb, P.J.Ch.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gottlieb

OPINION

GOTTLIEB, P.J.Ch.

This case involves a challenge to a purported holographic will. It is before me upon the return of an order to show cause seeking the will's admission to probate. The primary issue is whether a holograph can be hand printed or must be in cursive to be in the author's handwriting.

Jeffrey A. Hand died on December 25, 1995. Decedent's brother Norman, plaintiff, claims that decedent wrote out a holographic will on September 17, 1995. The will is actually dated September 17, 1996, an obvious error. The lined but otherwise originally blank sheet of paper tendered as that holographic will contains the following:

9/17/96

I JEFFREY HAND LEAVE

TO MY SISTERS SHARON

& SUE MY house & BANK ACC.

NORMAN & ADAM MY GUNS & TOOL

ADAM GETS MY BOAT

NORMAN GETS MY TRUCK

Decedent executed no formal will. When he died, he was survived by his sisters Sharon and Susan, his brothers Norman and Adam and his widow Marie, the defendant.

For several years before his death, decedent had been ill with kidney disease, diabetes and other medical problems. On September 11, 1995, Norman and Adam visited decedent. They discussed distribution of decedent's assets to his family. Norman and Adam maintain that decedent began writing on a sheet of paper and declared to his brothers that he was writing his will. Adam and Susan claim that on September 17, 1995, decedent handed the sheet of paper to Susan, told her it was his will and directed her to retain it. Susan ...


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