Mr Van Heerden had been in poor health and called on a friend to help him draft a will, which had a schedule of items. Ms van Heerden was born of the late Mr van Heerden’s second marriage and Ms Picton was born of his first marriage. Ms van Heerden asserts that the manuscript insertion of the identity of each beneficiary appearing on the final schedule is the handwriting of Ms Picton.
Mossop AJ discusses s 4A of the Wills Act 7 of 1953 and the general rule that disqualifies those who attest, sign (as a witness or in the presence of and by the direction of the testator) or write the will, from benefitting under that will, unless they are exempted by either section 4A(2)(a) or (b); the circumstances around the signing of the will and the completion of the schedule; the applicant’s contentions that the final schedule does not reflect the wishes of the deceased; and whether Ms Picton gained an unfair advantage over the other beneficiaries.
Ms Picton is declared to be only entitled to receive a benefit that does not exceed the value of the share to which she would have been entitled in terms of the law relating to intestate succession.