Another legal debacle caused by EZ Wills. Why would you hang all your property and your final wishes on the cheapest form you can find? More to the point, these documents often don’t work, and cause unintended, possibly even undesired, results.
In Aldrich, the court was asked whether a will that only contained specific bequests, and did not contain either general or residuary bequests, could dispose of the testator’s whole estate, even property not specifically named, i.e. an implied residuary. The court said no.
The testator had purchased and filled out an EZ Will, a mass-market form will that didn’t have a residuary designation. The testator filled in blanks, making a long list of specific bequests to X. At the time of execution this specific bequests covered substantially all of her property. But just before her death, Testator came into substially more property (a bequest from her sister).
Upon probate of Testator’s will, X contended that the extensive, even comprehensive list of the testator’s assets at the time of execution, bequeathed to him in the form of specific bequests, evidenced an intent to leave all her property to him, i.e. an implied residuary. He therefore argued that he was entitled to the after-acquired property. The court disagreed, saying that the will had to be read according to the four corners of the will, and that the testator in fact had no residuary beneficiary. Thus the after-acquired property fell through intestacy to beneficiaries that Testator never intended and possibly never desired. The case is Aldrich v. Basile (opinion).