2013 Connecticut General Statutes
Title 45a - Probate Courts and Procedure
Chapter 802a - Wills: Execution and Construction
Section 45a-251 - (Formerly Sec. 45-161). Making and execution of wills. Wills executed outside the state.
A will or codicil shall not be valid to pass any property unless it is in writing, subscribed by the testator and attested by two witnesses, each of them subscribing in the testator’s presence; but any will executed according to the laws of the state or country where it was executed may be admitted to probate in this state and shall be effectual to pass any property of the testator situated in this state.
(1949 Rev., S. 6951; 1971, P.A. 240; P.A. 80-476, S. 232.)
History: 1971 act required that wills be attested by two rather than three witnesses; P.A. 80-476 rephrased provisions and substituted “property” for “estate”; Sec. 45-161 transferred to Sec. 45a-251 in 1991.
Probate judge is competent witness. 1 R. 462; 2 R. 232. Executor is competent witness. 1 R. 494; 8 C. 262. Parol evidence of mistake in drafting will not admissible. 6 C. 270; 8 C. 266. Degree of uncertainty required to render will void. 8 C. 51; 35 C. 111. Inhabitants of a school district legatee are competent witnesses. 1 D. 35. Order in which testator and witnesses subscribe their names immaterial. 25 C. 231. Joint will undertaking to operate only as will of one who dies first, valid. 26 C. 455. Joint wills. Id.; 67 C. 317. Prior to statute of 1856, a will executed in another state according to laws of that state, but not of this, by person here domiciled who afterwards becomes domiciled and dies here held invalid. 33 C. 135. Formerly will might be void as to devises of real estate and good as to legacies of personal property. 34 C. 484. Incorporation of extrinsic papers. 40 C. 272; 77 C. 240; Id., 612; 79 C. 511. Unnecessary that witnesses should subscribe in each other’s presence. 43 C. 85. Unnecessary that witness should know it is a will. 47 C. 460. Declarations of testator at time will is made not admissible to alter it. 49 C. 565. Cited. 50 C. 339. Contra, between years 1875 and 1885. 57 C. 182. Execution governed by statute in force when will is made. Id., 187. Cited. 68 C. 245. History of law; section to be strictly followed. 74 C. 302; 79 C. 511. Proof of will where one witness cannot be found. 74 C. 257. Oral or nuncupative will invalid. Id., 304. Execution of will not intelligible to untrained mind on assurance of attorney that it accomplishes purpose. 78 C. 410. Will executed in New York, with only two witnesses, upheld. 80 C. 443. Holographic will executed in France upheld. 86 C. 630. Use of English language by one not understanding it. 88 C. 136. Proof where will more than thirty years old and witnesses cannot be found. 91 C. 265. Requirements in proof of will. 92 C. 251; 93 C. 55. Testator need not sign in witnesses’ presence if he acknowledges his signature in their presence. Id. Trust agreement providing for distribution of life insurance proceeds when received after insured’s death held not testamentary. 119 C. 570. Transfers not in compliance with this section and intended solely to create interests to arise at death are void; transferor’s intent may be shown by parol. 127 C. 167. Transfers of deposits creating present interests held not testamentary. Id., 169. Cited. 128 C. 380. Provision of partnership agreement that share of deceased partner should pass to widow held not testamentary. 131 C. 277. Statements of testator are admissible for purpose of identifying property referred to if they explain latent ambiguity in will and are not dispositive. Id. Transfer of property not valid where there is intent solely to create interests arising at death. 136 C. 611. Cited. 139 C. 494. Two witnesses failed to meet requirement of statute. Id., 549. This section is prohibitive and exhaustive with relation to one’s power to dispose of property after death by will. 143 C. 498. Cited. 147 C. 566. Purported transfer of property, with intent presently to transfer no interest but to defer transfer until death, can be validly accomplished only by instrument complying with Statute of Wills, but if transferor’s intent is presently to transfer interests, even though possession and enjoyment are deferred until transferor’s death, instrument will ordinarily be valid as against attack as attempted testamentary disposition of property by deed. 149 C. 138. History discussed. 152 C. 204. “Borrowing provision” applies equally to foreign wills and foreign codicils. Id., 205. Letter not meeting statutory requirements held ineffective. Id., 243. Even if contestant affirmatively pleads lack of due execution, burden of proving due execution of will is on proponent. 156 C. 575. Error for court to charge that all witnesses to will must testify to having seen testatrix’ signature on will. That will had been signed before their attestation can be proved by other evidence. Id. Cited. 172 C. 529. Cited. 174 C. 193. Admissibility of extrinsic evidence to prove a mistake by scrivener discussed. 188 C. 1.
Validity of oral directions for distribution of trust fund after death of donor depends on whether or not donor parted with title or intended it to vest after her death. 3 CS 152. Revoking instrument need not be executed with the formalities of this section. 18 CS 34. In interpreting a will the court endeavors to find the intent of the testator as disclosed by the language of his will. 21 CS 23. Probate court is only tribunal competent to decide question of due execution of a will. 23 CS 101. Attorney drafting will owes duty to legatees to exercise reasonable care. 26 CS 378. Lack of privity held not a bar to suit by legatees against attorney for negligent drafting of will. Id., 378.
Annotations to present section:
Cited. 218 C. 220. Cited. 237 C. 12.
Cited. 31 CA 247.
Cited. 42 CS 474.
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