Briggs v. Briggs
South Dakota Supreme Court
931 N.W.2d 510 (2019)
Elizabeth Briggs created a revocable living trust. After Elizabeth’s health began to decline, her daughter Judith (defendant) became Elizabeth’s primary caretaker. Elizabeth’s son, Thomas Briggs (plaintiff) believed that Judith was isolating and controlling Elizabeth. Thomas last had contact with Elizabeth in 2006. In 2009, Elizabeth removed Thomas as a beneficiary of her trust and later removed Thomas’s daughter as a beneficiary. Judith did not inform Thomas when Elizabeth passed away. Instead, Thomas learned of Elizabeth’s death when he received a letter from an attorney telling him that his mother had disinherited him and that he had 60 days challenge her trust. More than 18 months later, Thomas filed a petition in state court alleging that Judith had lacked testamentary capacity when she amended her trust to disinherit him and that Judith had exercised undue influence over Elizabeth. After his petition was dismissed as untimely, Thomas filed a separate petition in federal district court alleging tortious interference with inheritance. The district court certified to the South Dakota Supreme Court the question of whether the state recognized tortious interference with inheritance or expected inheritance.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Jensen, J.)
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