Philip Langan believing that he was having a heart attack while eating at McDonald’s in Yorkton Saskatchewan quickly wrote
Philip W. Langan
Marann Langan (Gust)
Split my property evenly, Dad Philip Langan”
He later gave the note to his daughter Sharon who wasn’t with him when he wrote it and asked her to take care of it.
Phillip died on December 30, 2015; in February 2016, Sharon and her brother Ronald produced the napkin they say was their father’s will.
Maryann submitted to the Court of Queen’s Bench Saskatchewan that Sharon believed Philip wrote on the napkin sometime after their brother Earl died in 2006, but before their brother, Landry died in August 2015.
Maryann submitted that Philip told her one month before he died that he didn’t plan to leave a will because
“he wanted us, kids, to fight like he had to.”
Maryann was sceptical the napkin was written by Philip because she had no other examples to verify his handwriting.
Ronald submitted that on the day his father, Philip, wrote out his intentions on the napkin he was fully aware of what he was doing including his reason for not to include my brother, Earl Langan, in the will.
“we’re not going to include Earl as he had passed away.”
Philip’s son Philip submitted he was with his father when he gave the handwritten document to Sharon telling her
“This is my will and I want you to keep this in case something happens to me.”
In Saskatchewan, handwritten (holographic) wills and “formal” wills are both recognized as valid. Section 8 of the Wills Act provides
A holograph will, wholly in the handwriting of and signed by the testator may be made without any further formality or any requirement as to the presence of or attestation or signature by a witness.
In 1948, Cecil Harris scratched the following note on the fender of a tractor as he lay dying, pinned underneath.
“In case I die in this mess I leave all to the wife. Cecil Geo Harris,”
It was found to be a valid will.
However as holograph wills are often so informally drafted the court must ascertain whether the author of the document had the requisite testamentary intent.
The Court believed there was enough evidence that Philip intended to create a will when he wrote the note. As Philip thought he was having a heart attack — a time when one’s mind would reasonably turn to the question of estate planning, especially “in the absence of an existing will
Philip immediately delivered the document to his daughter, Sharon, asking and that she keep the document in case something happened to him, verified by Sharon and Philip shows a clear testamentary intention.
Although the family has asked the court to determine whether Philips handwritten document is a valid will, they have agreed that regardless of the court’s decision, Earl’s children, just like Landry’s children, will receive a portion of the estate as though Earl had been named in the document; if the document is not a valid will and the estate is distributed as an intestacy, Earl’s children will be entitled to their father’s one-eighth share of the estate since under The Intestate Succession Act,