WILL - By Gordon R. MacKenzie
The evening before he passed away, the 80 year old and ailing Zachariuc,
told his friend, Chevrier, he had no will but said, "I give what
I have to you, you are my only friend." He told Chevrier where he
had money hidden under the house and gave Chevrier a house key (Re:
It may not be necessary to make a will to transfer personal belongings
to a beneficiary. The beneficiary must prove that the gift was made
in contemplation of death, there was a delivery of the property
and the deceased intended to get the property back if they did not
pass away. This is called donatio mortis causa or a gift made in
contemplation of death.
At the trial, Chevrier proved that Zachariuc was contemplating his
death, although he was not expecting to pass away. The money was
delivered by telling where it was hidden and giving the house key.
This was verified by the police officer and public trustee official
who found the money with Chevrier. The judge decided Zachariuc intended
to recover the property if he did not die, since he asked Chevrier
to return the next day to witness "the paper".
In the result, Chevrier got to keep the $16,280.00 hidden under
the house, but he did not get to keep over $3,000.00 hidden elsewhere
in the house, nor the house. Donatio mortis causa does not apply
to real estate and there was no delivery of the other money. These
went to the Public Trustee.
Ultimately, your best bet is to prepare a valid will.
This article is presented as general information only and is
not to be relied on as legal advice. You should contact your lawyer
to see how the law applies to your circumstances before any action