7.3: Summary Judgment (Application and decision)

Case Summary

A grant of probate Application was brought by the son-in-law of the deceased, Charles. The deceased’s surviving daughter, Lucy, filed an Application alleging undue influence and a lack of testamentary capacity in connection with the preparation of her mother’s last will. Charles cross-applied for Summary Dismissal of Lucy’s Application, pursuant to Rule 7.3 of the Rules of Court and Rule 64(1)(b) of the Surrogate Rules, AR 130/1995.

Lucy and her two sons received nothing in the last will; all property was left to Charles with the residual estate going to his two children. In essence, Charles argued that Lucy was estranged from her mother and she specifically wanted to exclude Lucy from the will. Lucy alleged that Charles put forth an erroneous family narrative and there were suspicious circumstances regarding the execution of the last will.

Jones J. held that the evidence demonstrated that the deceased was fully capacitated when she made her will and there was no credible evidence of undue influence. Further, the evidence showed that the deceased: did not believe Lucy was attentive to her needs and expressed the view that she could not trust Lucy; was not suffering from a mental or physical disability that would impact her judgment; and, had consistent views as reflected in her prior will. The Application for Summary Dismissal was therefore granted.

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