Last month, reasons for judgement were released in the case of Gidney Estate v. Maddess.
The deceased, Racz, died in 2004, and her Will was made in 1993. The Will was extensively litigated in the years after the death, but another issue arose last year relating to the construction of the Will.
A gift of a property, valued at about half the total Estate value, was not properly described in the Will. The legal description was incomplete. The civic address of the property was (properly) stated in the Will.
The Court examined the rules for constructing a Will. The Court has to consider the language of the Will, and if it cannot ascertain the Testator’s intentions from the language, it can consider evidence of the “surrounding circumstances.” The Court tries to place itself in the mind of the Testator.
Here, the Court held that the Will was not ambiguous. The civic address was accurate, and the wording did refer to four lots, which is what the deceased had the interest in.
Certainly, a Will should be as accurate and carefully done as possible. But some mistakes are light enough to allow the Will to remain valid.
This ad appeared in the Richmond News on January 4, 2013.