Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wilhoite v. Beck case brief

Wilhoite v. Beck case brief summary
230 N.E.2d 616 (1967)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Appellant executrix challenged the judgment of the Probate Court of Marion County (Indiana) that awarded recovery to appellee service provider for room, board, and care furnished to the decedent by the provider and overruled the executrix's motion for a new trial.

CASE FACTS
The provider filed a claim against the decedent's estate for room, board, and care furnished to the decedent by the provider. The trial court entered judgment for the provider and overruled the executrix's motion for a new trial.

DISCUSSION

  • The court affirmed, finding that if the trial court erred in calling the provider to testify, although she was an incompetent witness, it was harmless because, by the time she testified, she had already made out a prima facie case through the testimony of competent witnesses. 
  • Sufficient evidence supported the decision, which was not contrary to law, because the parties' relationship as distant cousins did not give rise to the presumption that the services were rendered gratuitously. 
  • The fact that the two lived together did not overcome the implied contract for the decedent to pay for the services because there was evidence that she was an independent person, was not treated as one of the family, and remained employed most of the time. 
  • Naming the provider as a beneficiary in decedent's will did not preclude the survivor's recovery for her services because many beneficiaries, including other cousins, were named although they performed no services.
CONCLUSION
The court affirmed the judgment awarding recovery to the provider for room, board, and care furnished by her to the decedent and overruling the executrix's motion for a new trial.

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