Judge rules Sask. man’s will written on McDonald’s napkin is valid
A Court of Queen’s Bench judge in Yorkton, Sask., has ruled a will written on a Mcdonalds napkin valid and should be honoured.
In February, Justice Donald Layh decided that a note written on a McDonald’s napkin should be seen as a valid will, despite the protests of one of his daughters.
The napkin listed the names of Langan’s seven living children, with the words “Split my property evenly, Dad Philip Langan” at the bottom.
Langan’s daughter, Maryann Gust, argued she was skeptical the napkin was written by her father.
Gust said her brother and sister, Ronald and Sharon, produced the napkin shortly after her father’s death in 2015.
The pair said their father wrote the will while eating at McDonalds sometime between 2006 and 2015.
They said Philip Langan believed he was having a heart attack in the restaurant and quickly wrote the note.
Afterwards, Sharon said her father gave her the napkin and told her to take care of it.
While neither of them were in the restaurant while the will was written, the pair testified other people were present, although the identities of those people weren’t entered into evidence.
MCDONALDS NAPKIN WILL VALID BUT FAMILY Skeptical of will
Gust said she wasn’t able to verify whether the will was written in her father’s handwriting, since she had no sample to compare it to.
She said her father 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.”
Justice Layh wrote in his decision that there was enough evidence that Langan was intending to create a will when he wrote the note.
“Mr Langan 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,” he wrote.
“Mr. Langan’s immediate delivery of the will to his daughter, Sharon, and the comment he made to her — as evidenced by both Sharon and Philip’s statements — that she keep the document in case something happened to him, shows a clear testamentary intention.”
While one of Langan’s sons had died before the will was written, and was not included in the will, the surviving brothers and sisters agreed to give one-eighth of the estate to his family.
The concept of handwritten wills, also called holographic wills, has a long history in Saskatchewan.
In 1948, farmer Cecil Harris scratched a note on the fender of a tractor as he lay dying, pinned underneath.
His note, “In case I die in this mess I leave all to the wife. Cecil Geo Harris,” held up in court and was found to be a valid will.
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