APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ROBERT
A. SWEENEY, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE DOWNING DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
The issue before the court is whether a trial court can refuse to admit to probate a writing which meets the requirements of section 69 of the Probate Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 3, par. 69), but which may not meet the definition of a will.
As the heir and named executor under the purported last will and testament of Muriel Parker, plaintiff Marion H. Hall appeals from an order denying admission of the following instrument to probate:
I, MURIEL PARKER, of the City of Chicago in the County of Cook and State of Illinois, revoke any and all former wills and codicils by me made, and declare this to be my last will and testament.
FIRST. I nominate and appoint my brother, REV. MARION HARVEY HALL, JR., to be the executor of my estate.
SECOND. I direct that my executor pay all my just debts and funeral expenses as soon after my decease as conviently [sic] may be.
THIRD. After the payment of such debts and funeral expenses, I give, devise and bequeath my real estate properties, commonly known as 7547 South Indiana Avenue, Chicago, Illinois and 5931 South Lafayette Avenue, Chicago, Illinois; and, all the rest, residue and remainder of my property, of whatever kind and wherever situated, in or which I may have any interest at the time of my death.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I hereunto set my hand and seal this 4th day of July, 1974.
X/s/ Muriel Parker _____________________________ MURIEL PARKER
THIS INSTRUMENT was, on this date, signed by Mrs. Muriel Parker, as and for her last will and testament, in the presence of the undersigned, who at her request and in her presence and in the presence of each other, have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses thereto:
/s/ James W. Thomas Residing at 11329 So. Peoria St. /s/ Sue B. Washington Residing at 5311 So. Ellis Ave. /s/ Rev. Joseph R. Evans Residing at 8307 So. Ingleside"
Defendants objected to the admission of the purported will to probate at a contested hearing. James Thomas and Sue Washington, subscribers of the attestation clause, testified as to the circumstances surrounding attestation. They testified that they saw the deceased sign the purported will, that they attested the purported will in her presence, and that they believed her to be of sound mind and memory at the time. After their testimony, the trial court stated that the mechanics of the statute (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 3, par. 69) had been met but denied the admission of the document to probate ...