Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sheldon v. Blackman case brief

Sheldon v. Blackman case brief summary
205 N.W. 486 (1925)

Appellants, the administrator and the next of kin of a decedent, sought review of a decision of the County Court of Walworth County (Wisconsin), which rendered judgment for respondent claimant in an action against the decedent's estate in probate.

In a probate proceeding, the claimant filed an action against an estate based upon a written instrument that stated that if the claimant cared for the decedent and his wife until their death, she would receive the decedents' property. The administrator and next of kin opposed the claim on the grounds that it was not properly delivered, there was no sufficient consideration for it, and it was testamentary in character but not properly attested to take effect as a will. The trial court found that the instrument was a non-negotiable promissory note for good and sufficient consideration. The claimant was awarded $ 30,000 for the services she performed.


  • The judgment was affirmed.
  • The court held that although the parol agreement was invalid, it showed the intention that the claimant should be well paid. 
  • The court ruled that from the evidence, the decedent realized the worth of caring for him and his wife and desired to make a liberal compensation to the claimant, which he had a right to do. 
  • There was no evidence of fraud or misrepresentation. 
  • The court concluded that the note was delivered during the life of the maker and that the writing was not testamentary in character.

The court affirmed the judgment.

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