Delaware International Wills Law

Wills and Estates – International Wills Law – Delaware


In this subchapter:
(1) “International will” means a will executed in conformity with §§ 252 through 255 of this title.
(2) “Authorized person” and “person authorized to act in connection with international wills” means a person who is empowered by § 259 of this subchapter or by the laws of the United States, including a member of the diplomatic and consular service of the United States designated by foreign service regulations, to supervise the execution of international wills.  Title 12, Chap. 2, § 251. (71 Del. Laws, c. 81, §2.)

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 1 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.

Title 12, Chap. 2, § 252. (71 Del. Laws, c. 81, § 2.)

International will; requirements.

(a) The will must be made in writing. It need not be written by the testator himself or herself. It may be written in any language, by hand or by any other means.

(b) The testator shall declare in the presence of 2 credible witnesses and of a person authorized to act in connection with international wills that the document is the testator’s will and that the testator 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 the testator has previously signed it, shall acknowledge the signature.

(d) If the testator is unable to sign, the absence of the testator’s signature does not affect the validity of the international will if the testator indicates the reason for the 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 1 of the witnesses, at the direction of the testator, to sign the testator’s name for the testator if the authorized person makes note of this on the will, but it is not required that any person sign the testator’s name.

(e) The witnesses and the authorized person shall there and then attest the will by signing in the presence of the testator. Title 12, Chap. 2, § 253. (71 Del. Laws, c. 81, § 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.)

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 the testator is unable to sign, by the person signing on the testator’s 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 the testator wishes to make a declaration concerning the safekeeping of the will. If so, and at the express request of the testator, the place where the testator intends to have the will kept must be mentioned in the certificate provided for in § 255 of this title.

(d) A will executed in compliance with § 253 of this title is not invalid merely because it does not comply with this section. Title 12, Chap. 2, § 254. (71 Del. Laws, c. 81, § 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.)

International will; certificate.

The authorized person shall attach to the will a certificate to be signed by the authorized person 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:See Form DE-WIL-01900. Title 12, Chap. 2, § 255. (71 Del. Laws, c. 81, § 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, §1.)

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. Title 12, Chap. 2, § 256. (71 Del. Laws, c. 81, § 2.)

International will; revocation.

An international will is subject to the rules of revocation of wills appearing at §§ 208 and 209 of this title.  Title 12, Chap. 2, § 257. (71 Del. Laws, c. 81, § 2.)

Source and construction.

Sections 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.  Title 12, Chap. 2, § 258. (71 Del. Laws, c. 81, § 2.)

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. Title 12, Chap. 2, § 259. (71 Del. Laws, c. 81, § 2.)

Inside Delaware International Wills Law