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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.