Susan had the execution of her will personally observed by Ruth. Ruth then signed the will after Susan signed it. Although the opinion doesn’t state so, the will might have been one purchased at an office supply store or typed up by Susan.
Susan then took the will to her bank where Allen notarized it. Allen didn’t recall this particular notarization but his habit and practice was that he would notarize documents for people that he recognized as bank customers. Allen knew Susan as a regular customer. Over objection, the habit evidence was admitted by the county court. The county court held that will was valid and it was admitted to formal probate.
The Nebraska Court of Appeals affirmed. While Allen had no specific recollection of signing Susan’s will, the “habit evidence makes it more probable that the person acted in a manner consistent with that habit.” Allen had signed 250 documents since he had notarized Susan’s will so it was not surprising that he didn’t recall this particular case.
Lesson: Don’t take chances with your will. Have it prepared by an attorney.
In re Estate of Loftus, 26 Neb. App. 439 (October 23, 2018).