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Last Will & Testament must be properly witnessed

In Connecticut a Last Will & Testament is not filed in any public record, until it is presented to a probate court after a person passes away.  For it to be admitted to probate as a valid will, a Last Will & Testament must be executed with certain formalities.  The proper signatures of attesting witnesses are essential to the due execution of a will.  Buck v. Robinson, 128 Conn. 376 (1941).

The proponent of the will (the person who presents the will to the Probate Court) must prove that the will’s execution was in compliance with the statute in effect at the time it was executed.

To be valid, the Will must comply strictly with the requirements of Connecticut General Statutes § 45a-251, which provides:

A will or codicil shall not be valid to pass any property unless it is in writing, subscribed by the testator and attested by two witnesses, each of them subscribing in the testator’s presence; but any will executed according to the laws of the state or country where it was executed may be admitted to probate in this state and shall be effectual to pass any property of the testator situated in this state.  [Current through the 2015 Regular and Special Sessions  § 45a-251. (Formerly Sec. 45-161). Making and execution of wills. Wills executed outside the state.]

In a recent Connecticut Appellate Court case, the court noted that Connecticut law does not recognize a “substantial compliance exception” to the strict statutory requirements.   The place for the signature of the witnesses, on the proposed will at issue in the case, was left blank.  The witnesses, if there were any, did not sign the actual will.  Affidavits by purported witnesses (the affidavits were presented separately from the will) having been presented in an effort to show “substantial compliance” were deemed insufficient under Connecticut law.  The proposed Last Will was not admitted to probate.

See:  Davis v. Davis-Henriques, Connecticut Appellate Court, No. AC 37495 (Feb. 23, 2016).