Animo Revocandi is the legal presumption that applies to a Will that was in a deceased’s possession but was not found at the time of the person’s death. The Will is presumed to be destroyed with the intention that it be revoked.
In the recent case of Thierman Estate v. Thurman (reasons released last month), the Will was done in 2006, and the Solicitor involved sent the completed Will to the deceased, who apparently put the original in his safety deposit box.
Days before he died, the deceased again went to his safety deposit box. After he died and the box was opened, the Will could not be found. Other searches also were unsuccessful. No other or newer Will was found.
In holding that the deceased most likely destroyed his Will (thereby revoking it), the Court took into account that the deceased was an intelligent, organized man. The evidence pointed to the Will being in the deceased’s possession, and to the primary beneficiary not caring well for the deceased. The deceased was held to have died intestate.
This is an unusual case, because one doesn’t expect such a person (an engineer, in this case) to necessarily behave so casually with a Will – particularly where the Estate is not small. Poor planning led to litigation.
The deceased probably should have just contacted his Solicitor and made a new Will.
This ad appeared in the Richmond News on April 12, 2013.