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Carbon Copy of Will Admitted to Probate

Thomas Delahunty died in March 2015, his wife had predeceased him, and they had no children. In April 1980 he gave a handwritten note to his solicitors for his will to be drawn up. The solicitor duly carried out his instructions, the will was executed and placed in the solicitor’s safe.  In 1997 the solicitor’s office suffered a burglary where the safe was taken with its contents and never recovered. Consequently, there was no original will. The deceased nephew, Philip Kinsella applied to the court to admit to probate a carbon copy of the will. If accepted, his nephew would be the principal beneficiary of the will. If it was not accepted into probate, then the deceased would be treated as having died intestate and a good number of nephews and nieces would benefit. A number of the people who would benefit if the decision was that the deceased died intestate, supported the application of Philip Kinsella.

The carbon copy of the will was found by another nephew in a box of personal papers in the attic of the deceased house.

The High Court judge was satisfied from the available evidence that an original will in the same terms of the carbon copy, despite not having signatures on it, was duly executed by the deceased. The judge ruled that it was professionally prepared by a solicitor on the basis of the client’s instructions and there was indirect evidence from the law firm supporting this. Based on this the judge admitted the carbon copy to probate.

Estate of Delahunty, Application by Kinsella v Succession Act, 1965 [2021]  657