Brief Fact Summary. Celestine Dupre executed a codicil to her will but only change a minor detail. She clarified the name of her nephew in the codicil. The codicil was invalid because it did not have the proper number of witnesses and the court considers whether the codicil revoked the first will.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A codicil that revokes a prior will but only makes a change to refer to a beneficiary in a manner so that there is no mistake about his identity, is only effective as a revocation if the codicil is valid.
The doctrine may be simply stated by saying that where the intention to revoke is conditional and where the condition is not fulfilled, the revocation is not effective.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Whether a testator executes a codicil that revokes a prior will, only upon the condition that the codicil is valid where the only change the codicil makes to the will is to clarify the name of a beneficiary to the testator
Held. Yes. Where a testator executes a codicil to revoke a prior will, the revocation is dependent upon the validity of the codicil if the codicil only clarifies the relationship of a beneficiary to the testator. The only change the testator made in the codicil to her prior will is that she referred to nephew by the name in the will and also an additional name by which he was also known.
Discussion. Though the testator only made a minor change in her codicil, she didn’t give her nephew another name. She clarified that the nephew named in the first was also known by another name. There was no confusion as to the identity of the beneficiary.