SENATE BILL NO. 161
AN ACT TO AMEND PART II, TITLE 12 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO FIDUCIARY RELATIONS; AND PROVIDING FOR A "UNIFORM INTERNATIONAL WILLS ACTS".
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1. Amend Title 12, Delaware Code by designating §§ 201 through 214 thereof as "Subchapter I. Tenets and Principles".
Section 2. Amend Chapter 2, Part IL Title 12 of the Delaware Code by adding the following as Subchapter H:
"Subchapter II. Delaware Uniform International Wills Act.
§ 251 Definitions.
In this subchapter:
(1) 'International will' means a will executed in conformity with § 252 through § 255 of this subchapter.
(2) 'Authorized person' and 'person authorized to act in connection with international wills' means a person who by § 259 of this subchapter, or by the laws of the United States including members of the diplomatic and consular service of the United States designated by Foreign Service Regulations, is empowered to supervise the execution of international wills.
§ 252. International Will Validity
(a) A will is valid as regards form, irrespective particularly of the place where it is made, of the location of the assets and of the nationality, domicile, or residence of the testator, if it is made in the form of an international will complying with the requirements of this subchapter.
(b) The invalidity of the will as an international will does not affect its formal validity as a will of another kind.
(c) This subchapter does not apply to the form of testamentary dispositions made by 2 or more persons in one instrument.
(d) This subchapter deals only with the form of execution of an international will. Delaware law regarding the scope of testamentary power, revocation of wills, competency of witnesses, regulation of probate, interpretation and construction of wills, and the administration of decedents' estates remains applicable to an international will.
§ 253. International Will; Requirements.
(a) The will must be made in writing. It need not be written by the testator himself. It may be written in any language, by hand or by any other means.
(b) The testator shall declare in the presence of two credible witnesses and of a person authorized to act in connection with international wills that the document is his will and that he knows the contents thereof. The testator need not inform the witnesses, or the authorized person, of the contents of the will.
(c) In the presence of the witnesses, and of the authorized person, the testator shall sign the will or, if he has previously signed it, shall acknowledge his signature.
(d) If the testator is unable to sign, the absence of his signature does not affect the validity of the international will if the testator indicates the reason for his inability to sign and the authorized person makes note thereof on the will. In that case, it is permissible for any other person present, including the authorized person or one of the witnesses, at the direction of the testator, to sign the testator's name for him if the authorized person makes note of this on the will, but it is not required that any person sign the testator's name for him.
(e) The witnesses and the authorized person shall there and then attest the will by signing in the presence of the testator.
§ 254. International Wills: Other Points of Form.
(a) The signatures must be placed at the end of the will. If the will consists of several sheets, each sheet must be signed by the testator or, if he is unable to sign, by the person signing on his behalf or, if there is no such person, by the authorized person. In addition, each sheet must be numbered.
(b) The date of the will must be the date of its signature by the authorized person. That date must be noted at the end of the will by the authorized person.
(c) The authorized person shall ask the testator whether he wishes to make a declaration concerning the safekeeping of his will. If so and at the express request of the testator, the place where he intends to have his will kept must be mentioned in the certificate provided for in § 255 of this subchapter.
(d) A will executed in compliance with § 253 of this subchapter is not invalid merely because it does not comply with this section.
§ 255. International Will: Certificate
The authorized person shall attach to the will a certificate to be signed by him establishing that the requirements of this subchapter for valid execution of an international will have been fulfilled. The authorized person shall keep a copy of the certificate and deliver another to the testator. The certificate must be substantially in the following form:
I, __________________ (name, address, and capacity), a person authorized to act in connection with international wills, certify that on _______________ (date) at ________________ (place)
(name, address, date and place of birth) in my presence and that of the witness (a) _____________________________ (name, address, date and place of birth) and
(b) ______________________ (name, address, date and place of birth)
has declared that the attached document is his will and that he knows the contents thereof.
I furthermore certify that:
(a) in my presence and in that of the witnesses
(1) the testator has signed the will or has acknowledged his signature previously affixed.
(2) *following a declaration of the testator stating that he was unable to sign his will for the following reason______________, I have mentioned this declaration on the will,
*and the signature has been affixed by _______________________________________ (name and address)
(b) the witnesses and I have signed the will;
(c) *each page of the will has been signed by ______________________ and numbered;
(d) I have satisfied myself as to the identity of the testator and of the witnesses as designated above;
(e) the witnesses met the conditions requisite to act as such according to the law under which I am acting;
(f) *the testator has requested me to include the following statement concerning the safekeeping of his will:
PLACE OF EXECUTION
SIGNATURE and, if necessary, SEAL
* to be completed if appropriate
§256. International Will: Effect of Certificate.
In the absence of evidence to the contrary, the certificate of the authorized person is conclusive of the formal validity of the instrument as a will under this subchapter. The absence or irregularity of a certificate does not affect the formal validity of a will under this subchapter.
§257. International Will: Revocation.
An international will is subject to the rules of revocation of wills appearing at § 208 and § 209 of this Chapter.
§ 258 Source and Construction.
§ 251 through § 257 of this title derive from Annex to Convention of October 26, 1973, Providing a Uniform Law on the Form of an International Will. In interpreting and applying this subchapter, regard shall be had to its international origin and to the need for uniformity in its interpretation.
§ 259. Persons Authorized to Act in Relation to International Will Eligibility: Recognition by Authorizing Agency.
Individuals who have been admitted to practice law before the courts of this state and who are in good standing as active law practitioners in this state, are hereby declared to be authorized persons in relation to international wills."
Section 3. This Act shall be known as and may be cited as the "Delaware Uniform International Wills Act".
Section 4. This Act shall apply to wills executed before and after the effective date of this Act.
Section 5. This Act shall be effective upon its adoption.
Approved June 25, 1997