Property Keyed to Saxer
In re Estate of Ward
Doris and Bobby Ward were husband and wife. Both had adult children from a previous marriage, but had no children together. Dwana Phillips (Plaintiff)was Doris’ daughter from a previous marriage. After Doris died, Bobby (Defendant) filed an application with the court to probate Doris’ will. In the will, Doris left a seventy-seven-acre tract of real property, referred to as the “family farm” that she independently owned, to Defendant. The trial court probated the will and appointed Defendant as executor. Thereafter, Plaintiffsued, requesting a declaration from the trial court as to her rights under a purported deed of the family farm to her. Plaintiff claimed that Doris conveyed the family farm to her on a piece of paper delivered before Doris and Defendant went to Europe on vacation. However, the document was destroyed when the couple returned from Europe. The matter was tried before a jury. At the close of the evidence, the jury found that (1) Doris had signed a deed to the family farm and delivered the deed to Plaintiff and (2) Defendant exerted undue influence over Doris in the execution of the probated will. The trial court held for Plaintiff and Defendant appealed.
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