Mid-April was not only Law Week, but also Make a Will Week. So I thought it would be fitting to discuss a recent case, Becker v. Becker.
Reasons for judgement were released in March. The deceased died in 2012, having lived in a marriage-like relationship for about 27 years and without children (but with godchildren).
The surviving spouse had two children from a previous marriage, and died in 2014.
Two groups of people, the godchildren and the children of the surviving spouse, sought to have different Wills, made in 2009 and 2012, declared valid. The deceased’s godchildren felt that the 2009 Will was the valid or “proper” one and there was undue influence with respect to the 2012 Wills.
The surviving spouse’s children felt the 2012 Wills were valid.
The Court expressed some concerns about the 2012 Wills, but found that the second of the 2012 Wills was valid and that there was not enough evidence to find undue influence.
The case shows how important it is to make a Will, and how carefully people (both the Will maker and the Lawyer or Notary) must prepare it.
This ad ran in the Richmond News on April 15, 2016.