Tuesday, March 12, 2013

In re Will of Moses case brief

In re Will of Moses case brief summary
227 So. 2d 829

SYNOPSIS: Appellant attorney challenged the judgment of the Chancery Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County (Mississippi) which denied his petition to admit into probate the 1964 document purported to be the decedent's last will and testament and cancelled his claim to an undivided one-half interest in real estate owned by the decedent.

OVERVIEW: After the decedent's death, a document dated 1957 was admitted into probate as her last will and testament. Subsequently, her attorney produced a document dated in 1964 and requested that it be probated as the decedent's last will and testament. The beneficiaries challenged the 1964 document, contending that the decedent was under the attorney's influence when it was executed. The trial court denied the attorney's petition and cancelled the attorney's interest in property that he purportedly purchased with the decedent before her death.  On appeal, the court affirmed.

The trial court err by finding that a presumption of undue influence arose as the evidence showed that at the time the decedent executed the 1964 document she was ill, disfigured by surgery, addicted to alcohol, and was involved in a romantic relationship with the attorney who was 15 years her junior. The presumption was not rebutted even though the attorney was not present when she executed the 1964 document because the evidence showed that it was drafted by the attorney's partner who gave the decedent no advice but merely wrote down her instructions.

HOLDING:: The judgment denying the attorney's petition to admit the 1964 document into probate and cancelling his interest in the decedent's real estate was affirmed.

In re Will of Moses (Miss. 1969) [24 CB 170]: Fannie Moses was thrice married and ultimately fell in love with Holland, her lawyer, who was 15 years her junior and her lover.  Moses went to an independent lawyer who drafted a will leaving everything to Holland; Holland did not know about this will until Moses’ death.  Rule: There was sufficient evidence to find a confidential relationship supporting undue influence.  Because the independent counsel only acted as a scrivener without giving advice to Moses, this did not rebut the presumption of undue influence.

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