Helfenbein v. Baval

Helfenbein v. Baval, 157 So.3d 531 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015), 2015 WL 669595

This decision deals with the validity of a will of which one of the witnesses signed an affidavit stating that he did not sign the will in the presence of the other witnesses.  The Court reversed the trial court's summary judgment which found that the will was not facially invalid because the trial court only considered the validity of the self-proving affidavit, and not the validity of the signatures of the witnesses to the actual will.  First, the Court held that the witness's allegation that he did not sign in the presence of another witness creates a genuine issue of material fact as to the whether the will was initially executed in conformity with F.S. 732.502.  Second, it held that the signatures on the self-proving clause were problematic, since the notarized paragraph lists four people, and only three people actually signed.  This raised an issue of the veracity of the three signers who swore that all four people were there when they signed.  


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