A case just handed down from New York’s Appellate Division Third Department, Matter of Paigo, 2008 NY Slip Op 06250 involves an interesting and successful challenge to the presumption of due execution which arises when the witnesses to a will sign a self-executing (or "living" affidavit) where they attest that the testator signed the will in their collective presence, knew what he or she was doing, understood and agreed with the contents of the will and appeared to be of sound mind. The problem in this case was that the petitioner had presented this will to the testator for signature in a hospital bed without being able to offer substantial proof that he knew the contents of his estate or the identity of the "natural objects of his bounty". A review of the decedent’s medical records indicated that he was "forgetful" and "confused", was impulsive and did not retain information. Also significant was the fact that although an attorney was "minimally involved in the process", he was retained by the petitioner. The court noted that even though he was present at the execution of the will, he had very limited experience in this area of the law. Upon review of the Surrogate’s decision, the Appellate Division found that triable issues of fact existed as to the competence of the decedent and the execution of the will requiring that a trial on the merits of the case be held.