In Ex Parte Pretorius (Franklin intervening)  ZAWCHC 11, Mr Pretorius signed as a witness on the last will and testament of the deceased. As section 4A(1) of the Wills Act, 7 of 1953, disqualifies anyone who signs a will as witness from benefiting under that will, Mr Pretorius brought an application to be declared competent to inherit under the provisions of section 4A(2)(a) of the Wills Act.
The court held that to succeed he had to show that he did not defraud or unduly influence the testatrix. The sister of the testatrix (Franklin) was not cited as respondent (as this was an ex parte application), but was granted leave to intervene. She disputed the absence of undue influence. The court held that Ms Franklin’s allegations were not clearly outrageous or fanciful and that, in view of the clear disputes of fact, an ex parte application was an inappropriate procedure. Mr Pretorius could not show the absence of undue influence without oral evidence (which he did not request), and the application was dismissed with costs. As a result, he remained disqualified to inherit.
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