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Britt v. Upchurch

Supreme Court of North Carolina
396 S.E.2d 318 (1990)


Facts

Mr. Hartman owned two adjoining parcels of land, lots 36 and 37. Lot 37 was identified as vacant in the tax records, and lot 36 was identified as 2615 Cooleemee Street. Mr. Hartman’s will provided that his “residence at 2615 Cooleemee Street” should go to Mrs. Hartman for use during her lifetime, with the remainder interest going to Mr. Hartman’s daughter Blanche Britt (“Britt”) after Mrs. Hartman’s death. The residue of Mr. Hartman’s estate was to go to Mrs. Hartman. Mr. Hartman predeceased Mrs. Hartman. Mrs. Hartman’s will gave all of her assets to her daughter, Yvonne Upchurch (“Upchurch”). After Mrs. Hartman’s death, Upchurch attempted to sell lot 37. Britt (plaintiff) brought suit against Upchurch (defendant) to clear the title to lot 37. Britt introduced evidence to show that Mr. Hartman used both lots 36 and 37 as his residence. Upchurch attempted to submit an affidavit from Mr. Adams, the attorney who drafted Mr. Hartman’s will, stating that Mr. Hartman did not intend the vacant lot 37 to be included as part of the residence under his will. The trial court held that it could not consider Mr. Adams’ affidavit, and entered summary judgment in favor of Britt. Upchurch appealed. The court of appeals held that Mr. Adams’ affidavit was admissible, and reversed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Frye, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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