Auric v. Continental Cas. Co

In Auric v. Continental Cas. Co., 111 Wis. 2d 507, 512, 514, 331 N.W.2d 325 (1983), the testator's attorney, Timothy Crawford, drafted a new will and revocable trust in 1973 to replace a will executed in 1970. Auric, 111 Wis. 2d at 510. After the testator signed the trust, Crawford and his secretary signed as witnesses. Id. However, only the testator and Crawford signed the new will. Id. Due to "confusion" or a "mistake of the moment," Crawford's secretary failed to sign the will. Id. Because the 1973 will was only signed by one witness, it did not meet the will formality requirements of Wis. Stat. 853.03(2) (1971). Auric, 111 Wis. 2d at 510-11. The probate court denied its admission and admitted the 1970 will instead. Id. The 1973 will contained a $ 25,000 bequest to Robert Auric; the 1970 will did not. Auric, 111 Wis. 2d at 510. Auric sued Crawford, and the circuit court ruled that the lack of privity between Auric and Crawford barred Auric's action for negligence. Auric, 111 Wis. 2d at 511-12. The supreme court reversed, concluding that Auric had a valid claim against Crawford. Id. at 515. The Auric court rested its conclusion on the state constitutional right "to make a will and to have it carried out according to the testator's intentions." Auric, 111 Wis. 2d at 513.