Two new Supreme Court cases have been added to the By Lawyers reference manual 101 Succession Answers (QLD).
In Re Chambers (dec’d) 2023 QSC 230 irregularities with signing a will did not invalidate it. The testator and the witnesses had missed signing parts of a two-page, pre-printed, will form. The court found there was no question that the testator intended the document to be a testamentary instrument. The evidence showed that he signed it, the two witnesses were both present and saw him sign it, and they each signed the will in his presence.
In Re Briggs (dec’d)  QSC 226 the issue of capacity was determined without expert medical evidence. Letters written by two treating doctors shortly before the dates of the relevant will certifying the deceased did not have capacity for decision-making were enough for the court to find she had no testamentary capacity.
Interestingly, both of these cases were determined without oral evidence, under r 489 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (QLD). This can occur in any case, on the application of a party, unless the court thinks it inappropriate. In Briggs the court noted:
Nothing in either r 489 or r 491 expressly defines the notion of disposal without oral hearing being “inappropriate”. The meaning of the term “inappropriate” must be taken from the context and purpose of the rule. Here, the clear purpose of r 489 is the efficient and economical disposal of the Court’s business. The primary aim though of the Court in exercise of any of its jurisdiction is to do justice. It will not be “inappropriate” to exercise the Court’s jurisdiction to determine the application without oral hearing where justice can be done without an oral hearing.
101 Succession Answers (QLD) is available in the Reference Materials folder in Folder A. Getting the matter underway on all succession related matter plans: Probate, Letters of Administration, Family Provision Claim, Wills, Powers of Attorney and Advance Health Directives.