WITH THE judgment of the Constitutional Court on March 30 that “the law requiring a seal on a will is constitutional,” Yonsei Univ. failed to procure the deposit of \12.3 billion which Kim Woon-cho, a social businessman, had wished to donate to the school.
The legal proceedings began in 2003 when a note showing Kim’s wish to donate all his assets to Yonsei Univ. was discovered in his safe at Woori Bank. After losing all first, second, and third trials against the relatives and family members of Kim, Yonsei Univ. made a petition to the Constitutional Court, but its final response was: “A holograph will ― a will written in one’s own handwriting ― has a great risk of being fabricated or altered. Moreover, seals are considered as official means in Korea to express one’s final decisions and to pledge the completion of a document. Therefore, the civil law requiring both signature and seal is constitutional.”
A Yonsei Univ. official expressed disappointment, saying “Although I did not anticipate much, I feel sorry that Mr. Kim’s willingness to donate his assets did not result in actual proceedings.” This lawsuit and the huge regret upon the judgment seem to reflect the university’s desperate need for financial contributions.