Does property addresses have to be correct in a will?

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Does property addresses have to be correct in a will?

My dad passed away and had a will. However, in the
will, the property he left my brother has an incorrect
address which is somebody else’s property. How
does this affect the will?

Asked on June 14, 2017 under Estate Planning, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The issue is, can the correct property be identified despite the error? If so, the error will not affect the will: the law does not let mistakes or typos affect the validity of legal documents if the true information or state of affairs can reasonably be determined. Example: say that your father owned one piece of property in Anytown, SC, and you know the correct address and can prove his ownership (e.g. title, deed, etc., which can get from the county clerk's office if necessary). If the address was, say, 1313 Mockingbird Lane, Anytown, SC but the will accidently listed it as 3131 Mockingbird Lane, the mistake is easily rectified and harmless: it's clear what property was meant, and a court will enforce the correct address.
Where this may be an issue is if there is no way to determine the property--if there were multiple properties owned by your father in the same area or with similar addresses, so it's not clear which one was meant; or if the only reference to the property you have is in the will (i.e. no other records of it), and so if the will address is wrong, you can't even find the right property. In those cases, the errorc could prevent inheritance.


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