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Bitetzakis v. Bitetzakis
Florida District Court of Appeal
264 So. 3d 297 (2019)
Gregory Bitetzakis sought to execute his will, which he began to sign in the presence of his wife, Ana Bitetzakis, and two witnesses, Thomas Rivera and Santiago Alequin. However, before Gregory could complete his signature, his wife urged him to stop because she believed that the presence of a notary was required. The result was an incomplete signature that included Gregory’s first name and part of the first letter of his last name. The next day, Gregory and Ann went to a notary, but instead of bringing the will, Gregory brought a self-proof affidavit. Gregory signed the affidavit as a witness to the execution of his own will, omitting the signatures of Rivera and Alequin. Gregory died, and his grandson petitioned for administration of the will. Gregory’s daughter, Alice Bitetzakis, responded to the petition with the allegation that the will was invalid on the ground of failure to comply with statutory formalities. The probate court upheld the validity of the will, reasoning that the partial signature and the visit to the notary indicated Gregory’s intent to make the document his last will and testament. Alice appealed to the Florida District Court of Appeal.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Northcutt, J.)
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