The case of the day is Malleiro v. Mori (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2015). Eleno Isleno was an Argentine national who died in Florida at the age of 79. She held property in both Argentina and the United States at the time of her death. About five years before her death, she made a will in New York that everyone agreed satisfied the necessary formalities for a will under Florida law. The devisees under the New York will were her nieces, other relatives, and friends. A few months later, she made a will in Argentina. As you would expect, the formalities of making a will are quite different in a common law jurisdiction than they are in a civil law jurisdiction. In New York, she signed the will in the presence of attesting witnesses. In Argentina, Iselno orally expressed her testamentary wishes to a notary, in the presence of witnesses, who wrote them in a document and read them to her. She then orally approved the document in the presence of witnesses, and the notary signed and stamped the document. Iselno, however, did not sign. The Argentine will, which was admitted to probate in Argentina, purported to revoke all prior wills. The beneficiaries were Iselno’s nephew and other relatives and friends. None of the devisees under the Argentine will were devisees under the New York will, and vice versa.
The devisees under the New York will and the devisees under the Argentine will filed competing petitions in the Florida probate court. The court admitted the Argentine will to probate, and the New York devisees appealed.
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