65th Anniversary of Will on Tractor Fender by Dying Farmer

It’s a famous Saskatchewan wills case: a farmer, trapped under a tractor, scratched his will into the fender with a penknife:

The will and the penknife were entered as evidence in court, which granted probate. The tractor fender will has apparently been cited many times in probate cases and texts around the world.
The last witness to the events is now 80 years old; at 15, he helped to free the trapped farmer, who died a day later in hospital. The University of Saskatchewan is having a 65th anniversary event:

Will carved on tractor by dying Saskatchewan farmer remains legal oddity

That’s pretty amazing. I’m glad it was ruled to be valid, because although the terms, as mentioned in the article, could have been contested, it’s still clear what the farmer meant. Too bad they even had to think about it, but that’s a sign of how involved the legal siystem anywhere has become.

What was never brought out in court was that when he referred to “the wife” he wasn’t talking about his own wife…

I had to open this thread just to figure out what the title meant.

Bear in mind, if the will was accurate, it disinherited any of his children, who would have been entitled to a share of the estate if there were no will. That’s a fairly significant impact, and the courts have to be sure that was the intent before they allow the estate to be probated.

At last! I’ve found the sure-fire way to get people to read my threads!

The title may be obvious inretrospect, and even evident if you think about it, but my mind’s immediate reaction was to picture an oil painting of a guy named Will reclining on a Tractor Fender, as painted by an artist inexplicably named Dying Farmer.

[li]Find a rich guy with a tractor[/li][li]Drop tractor on him[/li][li]Write, “I leave everything to 74westy” on fender.[/li][li]Profit!!![/li][/ol]

I don’t think that’s true. I talked to a lawyer once about creating a will and he assured me that if one spouse dies, everything is automatically given to the surviving spouse.

Amusingly, I knew exactly what it meant, but hadn’t realized the case was that old.

Its jurisdictional. I think that is usually the case, but not always.

Mine was “There’s a newly-discovered Robert Frost poem and I had to open MPSIMS to learn about it?”

It depends entirely on the law of the particular state or province. In Saskatchewan, if the total estate is below a certain amount, the surviving spouse gets it all. Over that amount, and it gets split between the surviving spouse and the children. The threshold for the split isn’t very high.

I suggest you track down the size of the man’s estate and what the threshold was 65 years ago. If you can prove the will was moot, I see the future you bathed in all the glory that comes from having an article published in the prestigious Moose Jaw Legal Ruminator.

Awesome case. American law schools often read some older English cases, but rarely do Canadian cases make the cut. A shame, really.

Don’t worry England. We’ll always have Carbolic Smoke Ball.

Yeah, I clicked on it just because I was curious about what the title could possibly refer to. :slight_smile:

Unmentioned was that said farmer borrowed the tractor from neighbor Stretch, he’d been drinking and the tractor caught on fire. So what we really had here was a slender lender cinder fender bender tender.
Or not.

Cool! I remember reading about that case in my law school Wills and Trusts (aka “Stiffs and Gifts”) course - maybe the only Canadian case I read in three years.

I certainly read about the matter in law school, but I had no idea the fender itself was on display. I’ll have to stop by the university the next time I’m in Saskatoon, and see it.

I know that in Penna where I grew up, the intestate division was that the spouse got only 1/2 or 1/3 if there were kids. One kid, he got half. Two or more kids got to split 2/3. I don’t know what the Sask law was, but I assume they were both common law jurisdictions.